The Faroe Islands are a sparsely-inhabited archipelago in the North Atlantic. Until last week, their remoteness gave them the distinction of being one of the few spots in the developed world not captured on Google Street View. But now, thanks to the islands’ roaming sheep, the remote roads, towns, cliffs and waterfalls are available for anyone with internet access to peruse.
Last year, the Faroe Islands tourism board started a campaign to get the islands on Street View because, well, it’s good for tourism (unlike its annual whale hunt). If you can’t preview the stunning fjords, waterfalls and austere Nordic towns, why would you bother going there, amirite?
They decided the best way to attract Google was to put some of the islands’ 80,000 sheep to work (providing wool and meat wasn’t enough apparently) by strapping 360° cameras powered by solar panels to the backs of sheep in an effort to capture some of the stunning views of the islands as well as Google’s attention.
Because the sheep have evolved without predators, they don’t herd like your average sheep. And because they’ve been a part of the island landscape since the 9th century, their travels have a relatively minor environmental impact.
Their wandering ways meant that the sheep gathered some truly stunning views from the islands’ jagged mountains and expansive ocean views. The results were dubbed Sheep View because of course.
Those views coupled with the feel-good story were too good for Google to resist. Last year, they sent officail Street View equipment to the islands. The sheep-captured views weren’t necessarily baaaad (sorry), but Google wanted more rigorous documentation of the islands’ roads than the quadrupeds could offer. The company also enlisted hikers to walk around with the Street View cameras similar to their efforts to capture the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders.
It all went live last week and the whole campaign has already borne fruit. Hotel reservations have increased at least 10 percent this year according to the Washington Post. For an island that sees about 350,000 visitors annually, that’s not small change.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be booking my reservation to visit before the herds arrive.