Google Street View? Drop Yo Pin!

Everyone does it: randomly drop a pin in the weirdest spots you can think on Google Street View. Entire blogs are dedicated to strange images Google’s cameras have caught as they constantly film the world around us. While Google Maps has provided us with hours of entertainment, it also revolutionized GPS technology, making GPS accessible to the masses and connecting users across the world.

Almost 10 years after its inception, Google Maps has gone from a simple map application to deploying satellites to circle the globe for robust mapping data. But, how does Google get the data for its world maps?

The magic isn’t created entirely by satellite. In fact, places of interest like national parks and monuments have seen improvements in the accuracy of maps with the help of local community members.

Google uses guerilla methods to obtain hyper local information with its camera-lending program. This program is open to anyone who wants to bring awareness to their local area. Google relies on human endeavors for especially remote locations, using captured photos and video from backpackers, hikers, and recently sheep.

Sounds a Little Sheepish To Us

The Faroe Islands are an archipelago located between Norway and Iceland, with a very small population of almost 50,000. The infrastructure of the Faroe Islands has been evolving with extensive roadways built to connect the islands and promote tourism, but there was still one thing missing after all the expansion. The Faroe Islands were not part of Google Street View.

So a Faroe Island resident, Durita Andreassen, in effort to promote the natural beauty and culture of the islands, strapped solar powered cameras to the backs of free roaming sheep in order to capture data to upload to Google Street View. She called the project Sheep View and created a petition for Google to visit and help her complete the project.

Google took notice and sent out their Google Maps crew to help Durita and her sheep friends track the sprawling landscape of the archipelago. They equipped the community with 360 view cameras so locals could contribute to the Street View project.

People all over the world supported Durita’s petition, hoping Google would help her show Faroe Islands to the world. This international support shows how Google Maps has become more than a navigation app, instead evolving into an essential tool for community, signifying relevance and exposure.

Durita with her sheep  Durita's sheep with 360 camera on its back
Photo Credit: Durita, her sheep and their solar powered cameras (https://maps.googleblog.com/2016/08/sheep-view-where-theres-wool-theres-way.html)

The Local SEO Tie-In

Google Maps is an integral part of local discovery, which is the reason marketers invest in Local SEO education, and the reason clients want to make sure their business is displayed to their local audience. It’s unlikely Google themselves will come with a camera crew, but they have started a local maps evangelical program that’s pretty close. Get Your Business Online is a Google resource created to help small local businesses assess their Google My Business listing. The online platform allows you to check your listing and if you are not listed will walk you through the steps on how to rectify your listing. They provide a PDF resource with all the steps you need if you want to reference it later and give small business tips for local success.

With people like Durita and small businesses, fighting for space on the uber giant Google Maps, the search engine will keep expanding their database and mapping data so everyone can have accessible information, regardless of size.

Durita’s sheep are now Internet celebrities with highlights of their Google Map excursions on YouTube and Google Maps turns 11 next month, victories for the intersection of local community and technology, indicating a bright future for local exploration and discovery.

 

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