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Google Earth treasure hunt leads to £44,000 prize

An upcoming puzzle book will give braniacs the chance to win €50,000 by identifying a particular location on Google Earth, adding a digital twist to the traditional treasure hunt.

An upcoming puzzle book will give braniacs the chance to win €50,000 -- around £44,000 -- by identifying a particular location on Google Earth, adding a digital twist to the traditional treasure hunt. 

The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth, published by Carlton Books, will contain a number of drawings with visual and text clues that lead to locations on Google's atlas. Brainboxes and people with too much time on their hands will eventually be led to a single place.

Sleuths will have from 1 September this year -- the book's launch date -- until the end of March 2012 to identify the final destination and submit their answer online. Those who've come to the correct conclusion will be entered into a prize draw to win €50,000, which currently translates to around £44,200.

Carlton Books claims the puzzles are "ferociously complicated", but you don't need to be a genius to solve them. They've been designed by Tim Dedopulos, a former member of Mensa and author of numerous other puzzle books, as well as, er, Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The Great Global Treasure Hunt, which will be internationally published, is aimed at drumming up the same kind of frenzy as 1979's Masquerade, which was insanely popular in the UK. That tome also contained clue-riddled pictures, leading to the location of a buried 18-carat golden hare. 

The Masquerade treasure hunt came to an unfortunate end -- it turned out the person who found the hare had discovered its location through the former girlfriend of Masquerade's author. Here's hoping the latest treasure hunt has a happier ending.

You can pre-order a copy through Amazon and other retailers for around £9. Let us know whether you'll be doing so in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.