Where There’s a Wool, There’s a Way…

Last year, the tiny Faroe Islands - 18 islands in the North Atlantic, located between the Shetlands, Iceland and Norway - petitioned Google to be featured on Google Street View by creating their own version of the mapping system, using cameras mounted on the backs of sheep and calling it Sheep View

Now, just over a year later, the Faroese have succeeded in their aim – with Google announcing Google Street View now features the Faroe Islands.

The Sheep View campaign was launched in July 2017 by Faroes’ resident, Durita Andreassen, who wanted to share the beauty of her native islands with the rest of the world and, in turn, to petition Google to have the nation included on Google Street View. Together with a few friendly sheep equipped with solar-powered 360-degree cameras and the support of the Faroese tourist board, Durita set out to collect images of the Faroe Islands that could be uploaded to Google Maps.

When the tech giant heard about the Sheep View project, they thought it was “shear brilliance” and, in August 2016, they supplied the Faroese with a Street View Trekker and 360-degree cameras via the ‘Street View camera loan program’ so that residents and tourists alike could assist the sheep in capturing even more images of the beautiful archipelago, using selfie sticks, bikes, backpacks, cars, kayaks, horses, ships and even wheelbarrows.

Now, as a result of that work, Google Street View includes the Faroe Islands, meaning that people around the world can explore the landscapes and unlock the hidden beauty of this little-known destination. The Faroes are now well and truly on the map.

David Castro González de Vega, Google Maps Program Manager, comments: “It’s our mission to make the farthest corners of the world accessible through Street View in the palm of your hand. But there’s a lot of world out there, so sometimes we need a little bit of help to hoof the distance. Now, thanks to Durita and her trusty sheep, you can explore the Faroe Islands in Google Maps. It goes to show – if there’s a wool, there’s a way.”

Guðrið Højgaard, Director of  Visit Faroe Islands, reacts to the news, saying: “We’re so thrilled that we succeeded in getting Google Street View to come to the Faroe Islands by creating our own Sheep View. We are also proud that we managed to spread the word about the Faroe Islands – a place many had previously not heard of – to people all around the world. As a result, tourism numbers have increased and visitors, or would-be visitors, can now use Google Street View to see beautiful panoramic views of the Faroe Islands.”

However, the Faroe Islands are not stopping there. In light of their success, they are once again taking on the might of Google with a campaign to have their unique language included on Google Translate. With fewer than 80,000 people speaking Faroese worldwide and a growing tourism market, the Faroe Islands realise that not being included on the translation platform has frustrated visitors, who can’t fully immerse in their culture by learning a few phrases in Faroese.