Google Hires A Camel For The Job

Since 2012, Google has taken the everyday user around the world with its advanced Street View technology. By utilizing the Trekker, a wearable backpack – camera system, historic landmarks inaccessible by car, are now brought to life through a series of 360-degree panoramic images. Thus far, the multinational corporation has collected images from 59 countries, covering a distance of more than 5 million miles across the globe – from the Grand Canyon in the U.S. to the ancient pyramids of Egypt.

This time, however, Google has truly outdone itself by documenting the beautiful sands of Abu Dhabi’s Liwa Oasis. But rather than employing a car, bike or human to carry the camera apparatus, the company opted for a cheaper, low-tech solution: a camel.

This is not the first time Google has strapped its camera to an unusual vehicle. It’s certainly the most creative, however. Raffia, the camel, is the very first animal to ever carry the Trekker. According to Google’s spokeswoman, Monica Baz, “with every environment and every location, [Google tries] to customize the capture.” By fashioning a specific hoisting system for the animal, the company was able to document the 100 kilometer-wide (62-mile) desert in Abu Dhabi in the most authentic, and least damaging way.

But this required a lot of hard work and dedication on Raffia’s part. In order to photograph the area during the best lighting conditions, the workday began at the crack of dawn – as early as 6 a.m. The 10-year-old animal was accompanied by an Indian guide through some of the world’s largest sand dunes,  reaching anywhere from 25 – 40 metres.

The result is an all-encompassing tour shot in an unusual, but highly interesting perspective. It probably won’t come as a shock then if while viewing the images, you suddenly feel as if you’re sitting on the camel’s back, going along for the ride. Scrolling down on the screen, for instance, will reveal Raffia’s shadow.

Ultimately thanks to Google, and Raffia’s dedication of course, we can now see the rolling sandy hills of one of the oldest sites in the United Arab Emirates – once home to early settlers back in the Late Stone Age.