Sheep put the Faroe Islands on the map, literally

I’m not sure the sheep knew what they were signing up for with Google “SheepView 360”.

Know where the Faroe Islands are? No? Well that’s not surprising given that more sheep live there (about 80,000 as it turns out) than people.

In fact, there are so many sheep roaming the countryside that the islands’ tourism board thought it might be good idea to tap into their #1 resource. So they called up Google and starting slapping cameras on sheep with the goal of capturing more of the islands’ beautiful scenery in Google Maps Street View. And, of course, the media attention over their novel approach probably wouldn’t hurt tourism either.

The Faroe Islands — overrun with sheep, and now tourists.

There are actually 18 rocky islands that comprise the Foroe Island archipelago, situated about half way between Scotland and Iceland. Much of the landscape is rugged with steep slopes and cannot be accessed by car. But sheep go where they want, require little fuel, and generally don’t mind slogging around with a camera. Thus, the “SheepView 360” project, as its been called, was a creative way to overcome the challenges posed by the landscape while also showcasing some of the islands’ unseen scenic treasures.

Not all Google Street View footage of the islands has come from sheep, of course; much of the imagery was captured using the regular old camera-mounted on the Google-mobile. But you can view some of the video captured by our woolly friends on the Visit Faroe Island website. Additional imagery were captured by locals themselves, riding horses, skateboarding, and kayaking.

In addition to literally putting Faroe Island imagery on the map, the sheep have helped raise awareness of the islands’ scenic and recreational amenities, resulting in a noticeable uptick in hotel reservation rates. As Levi Hanssen, content manager for VisitFaroeIslands.com, put it: the sheep provided “PR value we could never have bought ourselves.”

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