Sheep Help the Faroe Islands Make It on Google Street View

Posted by Amber King
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Somewhere in the icy waters between Norway and Iceland, there's a remote set of islands where sheep outnumber people.

The Faroe Islands are made up of 18 mountainous juts of land in the North Atlantic ocean, and until recently, the only way to know what they looked like was to scour the Internet for pictures or fly there and see for yourself.

While ruggedly beautiful and known for being one of the best places in the world to score a locally sourced meal, the narrow streets and steep mountains aren't conducive to Google's roaming fleet of camera-mounted cars.

If you weren't aware, Google has been systematically making its way across the globe to document locations with Google Street View, but the faraway Faroe Islands didn't make the cut.

the beautiful town of eidi, who would live here? 🇫🇴 📸 @adampartridge #faroeislands #visitfaroeislands #wewantgooglestreetview

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Determined to get their home included on Google Street View, the Faroe islands' tourism board came up with a bold marketing pitch. They needed something that would get Google's attention, and they decided to use the best resource on the island.

About 50,000 people call the Faroe Islands home, but that population is dwarfed by the 80,000 sheep who are native to the lands.

The Faroese sheep are shaggy and sturdy. They're all technically owned by one sheep farmer or another, but they move freely across the islands. The tourism board came up with the idea to put them to work documenting the island terrain by strapping solar-powered, 360-degree cameras onto their backs and setting them loose.

The crazy idea was a creative solution to the problem, but it didn't come without its challenges. Tourism official Levi Hanssen told the Washington Post:

"It's not very easy putting cameras on sheep. We would just stand there, and they would stand there and look at us. You have to, in some way, get them to move."

When the sheep finally did move, they did their job well. They walked all across the island and sent back images from wherever they went. The tourism board started posting maps of their travels, and soon island locals got involved in what they called Google Sheepview.

It didn't take long for the grandiose company that is Google to catch wind of what was happening. They called it "shear brilliance" and sent a team to the islands last summer to finish the work the fluffy camera operators had started.

In the end, most of the street view camera work was done by humans mounting 360-degree cameras to their bikes, backpacks, boats, and even wheelbarrows to get shots of the beautiful roads. But browse Google Street View, and you'll eventually come across a shot of the remote island that includes the back of a fuzzy sheep.

Do you want to visit Faroe Islands? Let us know in the comments.

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Sheep Help the Faroe Islands Make It on Google Street View