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article imageGoogle 'hires' camel for Street View images of Liwa Desert

By Greta McClain     Oct 9, 2014 in Internet
Abu Dhabi - Although Google typically captures its Street View images by mounting its Trekker on top of a car, Google soon realized they needed to "hire" a camel if they wanted to capture photos of a remote desert area.
Located in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Liwa Desert is known for sand dunes that range anywhere from 82 to 131 feet in height, as well as the Liwa Oasis, the largest oasis within the Arabian peninsula. After deciding to capture images of the area for Google maps, a Street View crew and a camel equipped with a Trekker out into the 62 mile stretch of desert.
With the help of Raffia, a 10-year-old camel equipped with a Google Trekker on his back, the crew was able to caputure the 360 degree panoramic photos Google is famous for. In a blog post,
Raffia the camel is equipped with a Google Trekker on his back
Raffia the camel is equipped with a Google Trekker on his back
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Google says:
"To bring this stunning desert to Street View, we fashioned the Trekker to rest on a camel, which gathered imagery as it walked. Using camels for the collection allowed us to collect authentic imagery and minimize our disruption of this fragile environment."
The images show just how vast, and beautiful, the area is. With views of barren desert sands, towering sand dunes and occasional stretches of vegetation, the photos capture the imagination and showcases what Google calls "one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world."
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
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Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Screen Shot
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Screen Shot
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Screen Shot
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Google Street View images of the Liwa Desert
Screen Shot
When questioned about project, Joyce Baz, spokeswoman for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, said this was the first time Google used an animal to capture Street View photos. Baz went on to explain that Google wanted to capture the photos in the least intrusive way, saying:
“With every environment and every location, we try to customize the capture and how we do it for that part of the environment. In the case of Liwa we fashioned it in a way so that it goes on a camel so that it can capture imagery in the best, most authentic and least damaging way.”
Baz believes Street View can help boost tourism for the area by allowing potential visitors to get a gimps of Liwa before planning a trip.
Google also plans to bring Street View to other areas in the region according to Baz. She told The Atlantic:
“We want obviously all countries, because there is so much history and culture and heritage. I think it’s just a matter of time before we move to the other countries in the Middle East.”
You can view more Google images of the Liwa Desert here.
More about Google, Google maps, Google street view, Liwa Desert, Abu dhabi
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