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Google loans 360-degree cameras to islands that used sheep to make maps

Sheep View meets Street View

Google Maps

Earlier this summer, a tourism advocate named Durita Dahl Andreassen made a plea to Google. In a blog post, Andreassen explained how she'd spent the last few months using sheep equipped with 360-degree cameras to capture images of the Faroe Islands — an isolated North Atlantic archipelago that had yet to be documented by Google Street View. "My sheep are great for capturing the tracks and trails of the Faroe Islands," wrote Andreassen, who works for the Faroe Islands' tourism board, "but in order to cover the big sweeping Faroese roads and the whole of the breathtaking landscape, we need Google to come and map them."

"Even sheep can contribute to Street View"

Andreassen's homespun-version of Google Street View — which she dubbed "Sheep View" — made its rounds on the internet in July. Now Google has answered her call. Last week, Google Maps sent a team to the Faroe Islands, bringing 360-degree cameras and a Street View Trekker — a 40-pound backpack equipped with 15 cameras — along with them. The equipment is on loan to Andreassen and the Faroe Islanders, and residents and tourists can now borrow cameras from the Islands' tourism office to document the rest of the Faroe Islands for the world to see.

"The Faroe Islands have shown us that even sheep can contribute to Street View," wrote Google Maps in a blog post, going on to explain how anyone can apply to borrow one of its 360-degree cameras through the Street View camera loan program.

The Sheep View project has drawn others to map the Faroe Islands

Meanwhile, Andreassen and her sheep haven't been the only ones photomapping the Faroe Islands. Peter Neubauer, co-founder of the crowdsourcing photo map service Mapillary, recently took a trip to the Faroe Islands with his son where they set out to map as much of the islands as they could in five days. Neubauer wrote on the Mapillary blog that he and his son decided to travel to Faroe after reading about Andreassen's Sheep View project.

For five days they drove across the islands, a camera rig snapping photos from the top of their car, filling in the missing pieces of the Faroese landscape. And just like that, the streets of the Faroe Islands are now visible to anyone with internet access.