To capture these stunning images of the Galapagos, the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Directorate partnered with Google Maps and the Catlin Sea Survey to collect 360-degree views of the islands. The images—which will be available on Google Maps—will enable scientists to continue research with a minimal impact on the environment.
Google was able to go places that are off-limits to the average tourist, like Bahia Cartago, a land iguana restoration area in Bahia Cartago, Isabela island. Here, Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation crosses a rocky lava field to reach the site.
Googler Karin TuxenBettman collects photos in Galapaguera, a tortoise breeding center managed by the Galapagos National Par Service, as a Galapagos giant tortoise ambles by.
Christophe Bailhache with the SVII camera—an underwater model designed to document coral reefs—is escorted by a Spotted Eagle Ray at the start of a shark and ray dive in the Galapagos Islands.
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of a lava tunnel where he was collecting imagery. The dramatic lava landscapes found on Isabela island tell the story of the formation of the Galapagos Islands.
The Google Maps team traveled for three hours—on foot and horseback—to reach Minas de Azufre, a naturally occurring sulfur mine near the top of Sierra Negra, an active volcano on Isabela Island.
At the Los Humedales wetland area on Isabela Island, Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation collects seashore imagery.