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Camel Captures Google Street View of Liwa Desert [VIDEO]

Oct 11, 2014 11:42 AM EDT

Google Street View cameras have ridden on cars, boats, and even gone underwater, but for the first time one will hitch a ride on an animal - a 10-year-old camel, to be exact.

Raffia was appointed the task of walking through the desert around Liwa Oasis with a Street View camera mounted on top of her hump to create panoramic views for internet users, as a way to boost tourism in Abu Dhabi.

"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."

The images, now available online, show scenery from Liwa including sand dunes, miles of oasis, other camels and Raffia's footprints and shadow.

Toting a smaller camera called the Trekker, Raffia and a guide walked from as early as 6am to photograph Liwa in the clearest weather conditions possible, Baz says.

Camels, according to National Geographic, can walk up to 100 desert miles (161 kilometers) without water - even in temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius). Their humps can store up to 80 pounds (36 kilograms) of fat, which a camel can break down into water and energy when sustenance is not available.

When camels do refill, however, they soak up water like a sponge, drinking 30 gallons (135 liters) of water in only 13 minutes.

And thanks to Raffia, we can now get a sense of what walking through these types of conditions, at least in the Liaw Oasis, is really like.

This is also the third Street View available in the United Arab Emirates, following the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

[Credit: Google Arabia]

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