The Loch Ness Monster is a one of the top tourist destinations in the UK Jeff J. Mitchell, Getty Images

Drop and Drag: Google Joins Loch Ness Monster Hunt

On the 81st anniversary of the most famous Loch Ness Monster photograph, Google joins the search for Nessie with new "Loch View."

Those keen to search for Scotland's mythical Loch Ness monster can do so from anywhere in the world after Google launched a cache of underwater and surface images of the lake.

The Street View series includes the ancient Urquhart Castle seen from the water, Fort Augustus Abbey and the lake seen "from Nessie's perspective" under the peaty waters.

When searching Google Maps in the area, the usual yellow "Pegman" changes to a green Loch Ness monster icon, which can be dropped anywhere on the lake to see the view from there.

"The Google project was so cloaked in secrecy, when people asked about the ripples in the loch during the special diving expeditions, for once I had no opinion," said Adrian Shine, a Loch Ness expert who helped realize the project.

Its launch coincides with the publication date of the "Loch Ness Monster" photograph that helped make the myth famous. The so-called "Surgeon's Photograph", published in the Daily Mail newspaper on April 21, 1934, purported to show the monster's head and neck emerging from the water, later accused of being a hoax.

The legend has been credited with bringing significant sums to Scotland's economy, and Scottish tourism body VisitScotland called the project "hugely exciting."

"I hope people worldwide enjoy exploring Street View to have a look,” Shine said, “and then be inspired to travel to Scotland to discover this area of magical beauty and natural intrigue.”

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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