I came across a great example recently of what's going on at the cutting edges of IoT and mapping - Geo-Sheep. The Faroe Islands have equipped a bunch of sheep with solar powered cameras to map the island street view style, and are working with Google to upload the images.
Sheep may not seem like the obvious candidates to map an island, but when collecting the data quickly isn't important, they're actually pretty affordable. In total the project cost just $289k.
A lot of startups in machine learning and AI need big data sets to train their models, and proprietary data can help them build competitive advantages. I think there's a lot start-ups can take away from the Faroe Islands' use of sheep, in how to think creatively and hack their way to a cheap solution.
Visit Faroe Islands, the country's tourist bureau, has equipped a fleet of sheep with solar-powered 360 cameras for "SheepView360" to walk across the rocky mountain terrain.