How Sheep With Cameras Got Some Tiny Islands Onto Google Street View

The Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago that juts out of the cold seas between Norway and Iceland, doesn’t even appear on some world maps. It does, however, appear on Google Street View, thanks to a few sheep equipped with cameras. No, they’re not walking around holding onto cameras. The shaggy sheep have had 360º solar-powered cameras strapped to their backs so they can capture images of the grassy slopes, rocky hiking trails, and some of the roads on the 18 islands that make up the Faroe Islands. The sheep are taking the place of Google cars that wouldn’t be able to traverse the rugged terrain to snap photos of the countryside. The whole sheep idea — which the tourism board called “Sheepview 360” — was not such a stretch. Sheep are a big deal in the Faroe Islands, an autonomous nation within the Kingdom of Denmark whose name translates to “islands of the sheep.” The islands’ distinct breed is believed to have been imported by Norse settlers in the 9th century, and today about 80,000 sheep live there, far outnumbering the 50,000 people. Although the sheep are owned, they roam freely, which makes them perfect for the job of photographer. Now that the photos have been uploaded to Google, the sheep have retired from filming. It’s likely that at least some of them ended up as someone’s locally sourced dinner.