Google has mapped the Liwa Desert in the United Arab Emirates. In order to do so, it strapped its Trekker camera to camels. “Using camels for the collection allowed us to collect authentic imagery and minimize our disruption of this fragile environment,” said Najeeb Jarrar, Google’s product marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa.
The Liwa Desert/Oasis is not totally uninhabited. According to the census of population of 2005, 20,196 people live in villages closest to Abu Dhabi. Tourism is on the rise. There is a four star hotel–the Liwa Hotel in Muzayri, and also the Liwa Rest House, which is run by the government of Abu Dhabi, and now a third, 5-star resort called Qasr Al Sarab. Peak tourist season is during the Liwa festival to see the camel racing events.