How do you map a desert when it's not exactly the best place to drive one of Google's Street View cars? Camel-cam, that's how.
Perhaps you've seen one of the Google Street View cars, driving around your neighborhood with a device called a "Trekker" on top of it, with a camera inside snapping away. Google wanted to make the Liwa Desert, near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, explorable on Street View. But the Street View cars can't handle the sand, so Google's team turned to a much more ancient method of navigating the desert: camels.
Najeeb Jarrar, Google's Product Marketing Manager, Middle East and North Africa explains on the Google Lat-Long blog:
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...We hope this collection gives you a glimpse of what it may be like to travel the desert as caravan merchants have for the past 3000 years. Should you make the journey here in person, who knows—you may meet some new friends.