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Wool you look at that: Sheep lure Google Street View to the Faroe Islands

Having a population of 50,000 people unfortunately doesn’t always make the Faroe Islands a top priority for many companies. Street View, for example, doesn’t exist. It’s why the country launched Sheep View 360, a cleverly titled project that strapped 360-degree cameras onto the backs of sheep. It was all in the hopes of attracting Google’s attention so they could send out a team to map the islands — it worked.

There are roughly 70,000 sheep in the Faroe Islands — what better way to map out the the archipelago, whose name means “the islands of sheep?” The campaign was put together by the Faroese Tourist Board, which used the hashtag “#wewantGoogleStreetView” to attract the search giant. The initial video received more than 479,000 views, and now Google has arrived.

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“When we herd about the Sheep View project, we thought it was shear brilliance,” writes a punny David Castro González de Vega from Google Maps. “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.”

The team arrived last week to train and equip the community, Google says. But what’s really neat is that Google is leaving a few Street View 360 cameras at the tourist office in Tórshavn and Atlantic Airways at the airport, in case tourists want to assist the country in lending “a hoof.”

The Faroese team’s initial setup with sheep wasn’t as easy as it sounds — the small 360-degree camera they used only had a two-hour battery life. Of course the sheep, unlike a car, couldn’t keep it charged. The team had to rig portable solar panels, that also doubled as a harness. It powered the camera and an iPhone, which the sheep carried. About one image every minute is transmitted wirelessly to the Sheep View headquarters, where the team uploads the photos to Google Maps.

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Thankfully, the process is now a lot less arduous. Though that doesn’t mean Sheep View 360 is shuttering its doors — no, the team is still continuing its work and Google’s support will be supplementary to the overarching goal of mapping the Faroe Islands.

“Now we can make Street View with sheep, bikes, backpacks, ships and even a wheelbarrow,” writes Durita Andreassen from the Visit Faroe Islands team.

Google says if there’s a place that hasn’t gotten the Street View treatment, you can grab your own 360 camera and upload the images to Google Maps, or borrow one from Google’s Street View camera loan program.