Google Street View cameras have ridden on boats, cars, and even gone underwater, but its latest foray into image collecting has gone decidedly low-tech, relying on a camel named Raffia.
The camel helped collect images of the desert around Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi.
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“With every environment and every location, we try to customize the capture and how we do it for that part of the environment,” Joyce Baz, spokeswoman for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, told The National newspaper. “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.”
A guide walked alongside the camel with the camera perched on its back. Although most Street View images are taken from a camera inside a car, a smaller camera that can be strapped to a backpack is used in narrower passageways, like alleys. Raffia wore that type, known as the Trekker.
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The company is touting the project as a way to boost tourism in the region.
“We think this really helps people check these locations out before they come to visit,” said Baz, noting that 20 to 30 percent of views come from outside the country. “Liwa is a highly touristic site and is growing in popularity.”