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Impatient Islanders Create Google “Sheep View”

Ewe won’t forget this unique look at the Faroe Islands

Baa. (Visit Faroe Islands)
smithsonian.com

Ford’s Theatre. Angkor Wat. Machu Picchu. Where hasn’t Google Street View been? A lot of places, actually—and that doesn’t sit well with people whose home turf hasn't played host to the mapping service’s 360-degree cameras. Take Denmark’s tiny Faroe Islands, for example. As The Irish Times reports, residents of the minuscule isles got so impatient for Google’s cameras that they decided to map the islands themselves using some of its most recognizable residents: sheep.

The project is called “Sheep View 360,” and it was born of both frustration and a desire to showcase the beauty of the rugged islands. Durita Dahl Andreassen, who works for the islands’ tourism bureau, couldn’t find images of the islands on Google Street View, so she got ahold of a 360-degree camera and put it on some of the sheep who wander the area. Then she uploaded pictures to Google Street View herself.

Andreassen told The Irish Times that “we have to do things our way” on the islands. Google doesn’t object—they encourage members of the public to submit their own Street View pics and will even lend out high-tech Google Trekker cameras to select people who want to capture their areas for Google Maps. But it’s unclear if sheep have ever taken Street View images before.

The sheep in question roam around the 18 rocky isles tucked in the North Atlantic Ocean between Norway and Iceland, gathering intel on the lush volcanic landscapes. Faroe was initially called “Sheep Island” and hosts 70,000 sheep, compared to roughly 50,000 human inhabitants.

To capture the views, Andreassen got help from a shepherd and an animal-minded inventor, then uploaded not only Street View images but also sheep-led tours of the islands for all to see. The result is enough to make anyone say “baa.”

Perhaps Sheep View will inspire people in other places that have been ignored by Google Maps (predominantly in Asia, the Middle East and Africa) to enlist the help of local animals. Who knows—perhaps Camel View, Tiger View and Elephant View are next.

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