Over 70 dive sites in the Florida Keys and new sites added every other week to mark expansion into the U.S.
Ocean Maps is an Austrian start-up and while it may seem weird that a small country with no ocean access would be home to the world’s first (and only) company making 3D maps of the seafloor, even this small country has people who are passionate about the sea. Ocean Maps started as a way to realize the dream of making diving safer by bringing divers the latest technology. In addition to aiding in dive preparation, the goal is that the app encourages the younger generation to participate in the sport so that diving will continue to proliferate around the world.
In order to increase safety through providing accurate maps, Ocean Maps uses high resolution sonar and video data to accurately measure the sea floor, reefs and wrecks, but that’s not all. As a way to make the maps user-friendly and promote safe diving, the geographically accurate data is then turned into interactive 3D maps. Each dive site features a depth and terrain view along with recommended hot spots (location, photos and descriptions, of course) and tours. Nemetz wanted an all-encompassing app that would show divers the best places to visit as well as aid them in accurately planning their dives before embarking.
The app has recently been stated as “a revolution in dive planning” by Mia from the popular scuba blog Dive with Mia. Nothing of the sort exists in the dive industry. Currently, dives are planned from hand-drawn maps recalled by memory. The problem with these is that they aren’t accurate and are warped by perception. The Ocean Maps app, provides exact distances, routes and even includes places for necessary safety stops, which hand drawn maps can’t provide. The aim is to allow people to explore what they’ll get to experience before they go – in hopes of inspiring new divers as well as providing a one-stop-shop of valuable resource to experienced divers.
The company has found success in measuring the Red Sea and two local lakes: the Kreidesee and Attersee, and sought to expand to one of the world’s most popular dive regions: the Florida Keys. The team was able to map more than 70 sites in the area including the Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Spiegel Grove, Christ of the Deep and the Duane and Bibb. Along with these wrecks, you can expect to find maps of some of the areas most beloved reefs such as Hens and Chickens, Alligator Reef and Sand Key. Ocean Maps aims to provide maps that cove a wide range of dive sites: from coral reefs to shipwrecks to submerged tanks that range in diver difficulty level from snorkeler to advanced open water divers – this way, there’s something for everyone!
The expedition to gather the necessary data for the newest app was no easy feat. The Ocean Maps Team embarked upon a three week journey to get accurate measurements of the most popular sites in the region. They set out on rental boats every day and spent 8-10 hours on the sea surveying under the surface. During the expedition, Florida experienced hurricane-style storms that set the surveying back even more, but it was meticulously measured with remotely operated vehicles, sidescan sonar and precision GPS. Each evening, this data was sent to the in-house 3D specialist who culled through the culmination of collected numbers from the day before to create the maps available in the app.
All the trials were well worth it in light of the finished product; the newest app features an updated user interface with advanced graphics and visuals. The payment method has also been updated to feature a subscription option of $3/month that will unlock every site in the app. In order to continually provide value to subscribers, the team plans on releasing new reefs every two weeks.
Ocean Maps debuted the new product at the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) fair on November 16th in Las Vegas and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. The company plans to expand into different regions around the world this year and aims to add as many new maps as possible while creating a new custom user interface.
The application featuring these sites is available now in both the Google Play and iTunes stores.
For more information please visit http://www.ocean-maps.com