Google mounts cameras to camel back to chart desert


, Last Updated: 4:53 PM ET

Mapping out a city is one thing. Charting the Arabian desert is quite another. So to bring the fugitive, ever-changing landscape of the desert dunes to virtual visitors, Google Maps strapped a camera to the hump of a camel -- the oldest and most reliable desert porter.

The Liwa Desert in the United Arab Emirates has become the latest region added to Google Maps' digital archive of the planet.

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Chosen because of its rich history -- many descendants from the UAE can trace their origins to the Liwa region -- the Liwa Oasis is now accessible to virtual visitors.

Google says they chose the old-fashioned, low-tech route of mounting cameras to the backs of camels because it allowed for the collection of authentic imagery, but also minimized the disruption of the fragile desert environment.

The Liwa Oasis is the largest oasis in the Arabian Peninsula and is home to date farms, a prized fruit that's integral to local Bedouin and Arabian culture.

Google Maps has also charted the oceans, the base camp of Mount Everest, and the Canadian Arctic.

Take a peek at Liwa Oasis at