Visit the Liwa Desert compliments of Google Street View filmed on the back of a camel

The camel apparently even has a name: Raffia. With a 360-degree Trekker camera mounted (and wobbling) precariously on its back, Raffia ambled its merry way hither and thither across the Liwa Oasis, which is a 100 kilometer-wide (62-mile) desert situated southeast of Abu Dhabi (the capital city) and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Liwa is close to the border of Saudi Arabia. As deserts go, the view north, east, south and west are sand dunes (which can reach a height of 25-40 meters)… and of at least one mad Englishman [I presume. North East view.]. And, as oases go, the south west view actually shows palm trees and date farming using drip irrigation and greenhouses.

But, don’t let the Street Views of sand dunes stretching as far as the eyes can see fool you. Liwa consists of about 50 villages (population of around 20,000) and is connected to Abu Dhabi by a modern, multilane highway. When they are not date farming, the men from Liwa (Bani Yas tribe) are [traditionally] pearl divers on the coast during the summer months.

The importance of tourism is on the rise. Liwa Hotel in Muzayri` boasts four stars. Liwa Rest House, in the same village and run by the government of Abu Dhabi, is the second establishment in the oasis. It is primarily aimed at minor officials and businessmen. Construction has begun on a third, 5 star, resourt (named Qasr Al Sarab). The nearby Moreeb dune 22°59′N 53°47′E, 22 km south of Muzayri` on a small road (15 km as the crow flies), with 300 meter height [is] one of the largest dunes in the world, [and] attracts every year during the Liwa festival a large number of international and local visitors coming to see the offroad and camel racing events.

Will Google one day use a drone instead of cars, bicycles and camels, especially to map inacessible places (to mere mortals)?

It’s Thanksgiving today in Canada, so Happy Thanksgiving!

via geekologie