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Through what appears to be a stroke of (dubious) luck, Apple Maps has proven more useful than Google Maps in the long search for Scotland's fabled Loch Ness monster. As reported by Britain's Daily Mail, amateur monster hunters Andy Dixon and Peter Thain uncovered what looks like an underwater outline of the beast while scanning the lake with satellite photos from Apple's navigational service.
"It was purely by accident that I came across the image," Dixon told the Mail. "I was trawling through satellite transmissions of different parts of the country and I thought I would try Loch Ness."
It's tempting to debunk the image. Even though it looks like a gigantic catfish-like creature from the air (as opposed to "Nessie's" traditional "plesiosaur" shape), it could just as easily be the wake of a passing ship. (And indeed, that's what some skeptics are saying, such as Southern Fried Science.) The problem, as so-called, unnamed "experts" point out, is that there's no visual trace of any ship. Other boats are visible in the area in the photo below, which means it's also difficult to dismiss it as an imaging error.
"Whatever it is, it's just below the surface and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie," said Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Club.
It could all be hogwash, of course, but it makes for a bit of Friday fun. Apple receives its aerial imagery from satellite company DigitalGlobe, but it's unlikely that anything besides luck contributed to the sight of the object on the Cupertino's company's mapping service over that of rival Google.
Interested in seeing for yourself? It's on the north end of the lake, just northwest of the village of Dores. You can access the satellite imagery on your iOS device or Mac running OS X Mavericks by clicking here.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.