Flickr user Ahmed Zahid has an outstanding series of aerial shots from the Maldives, the island nation in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, Google's coverage of the Maldives is currently a mess, with decent high-resolution coverage in some areas, and coarse low-resolution coverage in other areas, so some of these image comparisons are not as attractive as they could be. The high-resolution imagery also has an unfortunate tendency to render the ocean as black, losing the sense of tropical beauty seen in the clear blue waters of the photographs. Still, this is an excellent series of images. Be sure to check Ahmed Zahid's Flickr photostream for many other great images from the Maldives as well.
Islands in Meemu Atoll, Maldives: Muli (left), Naalaafushi and Medlufinolhu (left-center)
The western tip of Randheli Island in Noonu Atoll, Maldives
Ziyaaraifushi Island in Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. This is the Summer Island Village resort.
Islands in Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives: Madivaru (tip of island at left), Naifaru (sandy island at left), Veyvah (behind cloud in center foreground), Vavvaru (right foreground). Note the wide expanse of sand surrounding Naifaru, unusual in the Maldives.
Submerged islands in Alif Alif Atoll, Maldives: The two submerged islands in the foreground are unnamed. The island in the upper center is Ukulhas. One interesting aspect of the Maldives is that they contain a large number of atolls-within-atolls. An atoll is formed when a tropical volcanic island, fringed by a coral reef, slowly submerges, allowing the ring-shaped reef to build a circular island structure around a central lagoon. The Maldives contains dozens of these large-scale atoll structures, some measuring over forty miles across. Within each of the large atolls, however, are scores of smaller islets which have formed atoll structures of their own. The two submerged atolls in the foreground here (and the fainter one in the background, at left) are examples of this. These atolls contain little or no actual land, consisting almost entirely of barely-submerged coral reefs surrounding the central lagoons. The island in the background is at an earlier stage of its life-cycle. It has a large area above sea-level, and is surrounded by a smaller reef structure. As the island slowly subsides and erodes, it will eventually form a structure similar to the ones in the foreground - a process that can take tens of millions of years. See the map below, or view in Google Earth, to get a sense of the large-scale structure of atolls-within-atolls in this part of the Maldives.
Islands in Meemu Atoll, Maldives: Kolhufushi (left), Maahuraa and Maausfushi (center), Kudausfushi and Dhekunuboduveli (right). Note that the photograph is flipped left-to-right (as a mirror image). The island locations refer to left and right on the photograph, not the screenshot.
Islands in Noonu Atoll, Maldives: Loafaru (foreground), Orivaru (right-center), Hulhuddhoo (upper-right-
Islands in Noonu Atoll, Maldives: The island in the foreground is Holhudhoo. The other islands are the ones seen in the image above of Noonu Atoll.
Dhonakulhi Island in Haa Alif Atoll, Maldives. The submerged island to the right is unnamed. The tiny island in the foreground is called Gaafushi.
Islands in Vaavu Atoll, Maldives: In the center is tiny, sandy Aarah. On the left is Hulhidhoo.
Island resort in Kaafu Atoll, Maldives: The long island in the center is Dhigufinolhu. In the background (left to right) are Gulhee-
Other Maldives shots from Ahmed Zahid. Click the photo to go to the Flickr photo page, or the Google Earth icon to view the photo in Google Earth.
Photos taken: Various dates
Photos by: Ahmed Zahid
Route: Various flights