Faroe Islands fit sheep cameras to create Google Street View

Faroe Islanders have set up Sheep View 360, enlisting ovine population to do the leg work

A sheep with a  360-degree camera mounted on its back in the Faroe Islands. Photograph: Visit Faroe Islands

A sheep with a 360-degree camera mounted on its back in the Faroe Islands. Photograph: Visit Faroe Islands

 

Living across 18 tiny sub-polar islands in the north Atlantic, Faroe islanders are used to working in difficult conditions. So tired of waiting for Google Street View to come and map the roads, causeways and bridges of the archipelago, a team has set up its own mapping project – Sheep View 360.

With the help of a local shepherd and a specially built harness built by a fellow islander, Durita Dahl Andreassen of Visit Faroe Islands has fitted five of the island’s sheep with a 360-degree camera.

As the sheep walk and graze around the island, the pictures are sent back to Andreassen with GPS co-ordinates, which she then uploads to Google Street View.

“Here in the Faroe Islands we have to do things our way,” says Andreassen. “Knowing that we are so small and Google is so big, we felt this was the thing to do.”



So far the Sheep View team have taken panoramic images of five locations on the island. They have also produced 360 degree video so you can explore the island as if you are, quite literally, a sheep.

The islands have a population of 80,000 sheep and 49,188 humans.

As well as helping promote the island to visitors, the project is part of a campaign to convince Google to come to the island to complete the mapping project. Visit Faroe Islands have launched a petition and the hashtag #wewantgooglestreetview to promote its case.

But would Google Street View ruin the beauty that comes from being such an isolated place? “I think that we’re ready for this,” says Andreassen. “It’s a place that has always been so hidden and far away from everything, but I think that we are ready to invite people to the place.”

Google refused to comment on whether it had plans to map the Faroe Islands. but pointed out that anyone is welcome to create their own Street View experiences and apply to borrow Google’s camera equipment.

It’s not the first time a project has brought together Google Street View and sheep. Last year the Google Sheep View blog was launched, which collected images of sheep found on Street View to celebrate the year of the sheep.

– (Guardian service)