How a Herd of Sheep Put the Faroe Islands on the Map

Thanks to a wandering team of camera-equipped quadrupeds, you can now navigate these remote Scandinavian isles on Google Street View.

How a Herd of Sheep Put the Faroe Islands on the Map

Courtesy of Visit Faroe Islands

It seems too good to be true that the Faroe Islands—a destination with a greater population of sheep than humans and a name that translates to the “Sheep Islands”—would be put on the map (both literally and figuratively) by the woolly beasts. But it’s not too good to be true. The Faroe Islands are now officially on Google Street View, and the islands’ local sheep population is to thank.

For years, the 18-island archipelago, located between Iceland and Norway, didn’t exist on Google Street View (it’s that remote). So Faroe Islanders took matters upon themselves. In 2016, Visit Faroe Islands rep Durita Andreasson launched “Sheep View 360”—an innovative project that could be described as a Faroese spin on Google’s digital mapping service.

With the help of a local shepherd, Andreasson strapped specially built harnesses equipped with 360-degree, solar-powered cameras to a handful of sheep across the islands and sent them off to collect imagery of the remote surrounding landscapes. But because these sheep continued to freely roam the islands, “Sheep View 360” still needed Google’s assistance in formally documenting the archipelago’s roads and town centers.

Following the launch of “Sheep View 360,” thousands of people around the world urged Google to make the Faroe Islands part of Google Street View. In response, Google sent camera equipment to the islands so that locals could assist the sheep in accurately capturing the jaw-dropping area.

“When we herd about the Sheep View project, we thought it was shear brilliance,” writes David Castro González de Vega, Google Maps program manager, in a statement. “So we decided to help the Faroese by supplying them with a Street View Trekker and 360-degree cameras via our Street View camera loan program.”

With Google’s equipment, Faroe locals set out to capture on- and off-road imagery of the archipelago—on foot, by bike, in cars, via kayaks, and even by wheelbarrow. Thanks to that data, various locations in the Faroe Islands can officially be found—and explored—on Google Street View. And now, it’s up to locals and visitors to continue adding highlights to the map.

“The Visit Faroe Islands office in Tórshavn and Atlantic Airways at the Vágar Airport will be lending out Google cameras, and anyone is welcome to lend a hand in the exciting project,” says Guðrið Højgaard, director at Visit Faroe Islands. “We are delighted to continue to develop our own unique version of Google Street View.”
Explore the Faroe Islands on Google Street View.

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