Oceans of the Earth

Written by Paul Bourke, idea inspired by Peter Morse.
February 2009

QuickTime VR model

We are used to seeing the Earth from space, as maps, 3D renderings, or actual photographs. We instantly recognise the landforms, those are the areas of the Earth we occupy. But what does the Earth look like if we switch our attention to the oceans? For a being living in the oceans this is the view they would concentrate on and the land would be the unchartered and unexplored areas.

In the following the land has been removed from the planet leaving just the ocean body. The data used here is derived from the GEBCO dataset, the elevation of the whole planet (including ocean bottom) at 1 minute (1/60 degree) resolution. The first image below is the Earth in the typical spherical projection, as viewed from the inside looking out.

Click for 4K wide version

Views from space, ocean depth exaggerated by a factor of 25. Colour shading by depth, blue being shallow water and red the deepest. This QuickTime movie (ocean_spin_512.mov) is perhaps clearer than the still images.

Views from within the Earths crust.

In the iDome.

Rapid prototype using Z-Corp colour printer.

Objet 3D printer