How do you get Google to visit your small, remote island group with its Street View vehicles, and digitize your roads for the benefit of locals and tourists alike? If you are the Faroe Islands, then you exploit your local resources to roll your own Street View, in the hopes of attracting Google’s attention. Behold: Sheep View 360, a solar-powered 360-degree camera, mounted on a sheep’s back.
Sheep View takes advantage of one great Street View feature: You can upload your own images to Google’s service. So Durita Dahl Andreassen, working for the tourist site Visit Faroe Islands, decided to kick-start the Faroe Islands’ entry by putting the camera on a sheep and letting it wander free, then uploading the photos.
“Unlike almost all other parts of Europe, we don’t exist on Google Street View,” writes Andreassen. “The Faroe Islands may be rugged and remote, but this collection of 18 islands in the North Atlantic also provides some of the world’s most magical landscapes, and it is time that this hidden Nordic nation is revealed to the world.”
The sheep-cam paid off. At the end of the summer, Google arrived to drive its Street View 4×4 around the islands. But by that time, the islanders’ own efforts were already well under way. “We have come to love our Sheep View so much that instead of replacing it, we have expanded the fleet of cameras,” says Andreassen. “Now we can make Street View with sheep, bikes, backpacks, ships, and even a wheelbarrow.”
And if you’re headed to the islands yourself, you can join in. “If you want to help, just come by our Visit Faroe Islands office in Tórshavn or stop by Atlantic Airways in Vágar Airport and we will lend you a camera,” writes Andreassen. That amazing offer surely says more about the trusting nature of the islanders and their community than any amount of advertising could ever manage.