Google has been recording and sharing places off the beaten track, like their addition of Uluru last year, for some time. Last year they shared their trip to Christmas Island to record the annual migration of the Red Crab population and today the results of that trip are live in Google Maps Streetview and Google Earth.
The project to record the Red Crab migration on Christmas island was a collaboration between the Google Maps team and Parks Australia, who manage the migration of the estimated 45 million crabs every year. Parks Australia shut down roads and erecting fences to direct the crabs to safe crossing points including under-road passes, or fly-over bridges.
The imagery captured by Google was courtesy of the Trekker backpack, which was worn by Dr Alasdair Grigg, Parks Australia who said
Capturing the imagery of Christmas Island and the Cocos Keeling Islands with the Google trekker camera has been an amazing adventure, every step of the way. I think it’s fantastic that people can now get a virtual experience of these places- from the dense jungle teaming with wildlife and rugged coastline of Christmas Island, to the stunning white sandy beaches and aquamarine lagoon of the Cocos Atoll. The red crab migration, endemic birds, plants, fishes and other unique wildlife of these islands is very special; and I hope the imagery inspires people to protect these natural wonders, and fragile island ecosystems the world over
The red crab migration is a well known and spectacular annual event. Each year, around November/December, the normally land based Red Crabs migrate out of the lush rainforests down to the coast of the island to breed.
In recent years, the Christmas Island red crabs, which have no known natural predators on the island, have faced an incursion of the yellow crazy ant, an introduced species from Africa, which is said to have killed off between a quarter, to one third of the population.
The launch today lets you check out the red crab migration up close, as well as exploring Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Using Street View or Google Earth you can check out the rainforests, wetlands and coastal areas including blowholes, the stunning ocean views and wildlife including the Red Crabs in your browser or on your mobile device.