In an effort to get "more authentic" Street View images of Abu Dahbi's Liwa Desert (and these great press photos) Google strapped their Trekker camera to a 10-year-old camel named Raffia and dealt with the stink, spit, and bad attitude so you don't have to!
The idea behind the exercise is supposedly to bring some tourist attention to this arid sea of beautiful nothingness. Joyce Baz, Google's Middle East and North Africa spokewoman says "Twenty to 30 per cent of the views come from outside the country. We think this really helps people check these locations out before they come to visit."
I mean, sure. I've got a feeling nobody's going to up and jet to مزيرعة because "it just looked so neat on Google Street View!" but I can't deny it's a fun idea.
You needn't worry about the beast being overburdened either; the Trekker camera (about four feet high) is light enough to sit in a backpack. The device is often used to get Street View images in alleyways and other tight spots.
Doesn't look like Raffia had to lug it far, either. Zooming out a few clicks suggests the camel only cruised around a pretty small portion of the UAE's sandy seas.
If a photo like this:
...is taken a few hundred feet from paved roads and houses, does that make it any less spectacular? Genuinely asking, because any adventure photographer who claims they've never cropped a stop sign or a power line out of a badass landscape photo to make it look more "out there" is lying to you.
Here's where Raffia was kitted up and sent into the sandbox.
Jump on a camel from the comfort of your computer check out the Liwa Desert for yourself!