Eartha: The World’s Largest Revolving Globe

What would you do if you loved geography, but also wanted to be a world record holder? Naturally you would build a scale model of the world that is also 3D. The model globe, called Eartha, rotates and has 3D to scale landforms on its surface. That model was given world record status in 1999 by Guinness and hasn’t been beaten in the decades since. The model was unveiled in 1998 and is a 41.5 feet in diameter.

Eartha beat the last model Earth record holder which was located in Italy. The Globe of Peace was built in Italy and was 33 feet in diameter. That globe wasn’t capable of revolving or rotating, two things Eartha is capable of doing thanks to a special crane scaffolding system supporting the structure.

Eartha was designed using computer modeling. The mapping data took nearly a year to compile and was entirely unique to this project; it used satellite imagery, ocean depth data, and relief maps to create the detail necessary to recreate Earth’s geography in a scaled-down format. On the globe one inch is equal to nearly 16 miles.

A view of Eartha up close. Photo: Katie Hargrave

A view of Eartha up close. Photo: Katie Hargrave

The rotating globe is feat of engineering all its own. The inner structure of the globe was made out of lightweight aluminum tubes, and the exterior skin was made out of lightweight materials suspended from attached panels. A cantilever arm rotates the globe at precisely the angle of Earth’s tilt.

The inner portion of the globe is the Omni-Span™ Truss structure, a system developed by DeLorme made up of 6,000 pieces of lightweight aluminum tubing. Photo: DeLorme.

The inner portion of the globe is the Omni-Span™ Truss structure, a system developed by DeLorme made up of 6,000 pieces of lightweight aluminum tubing. Photo: DeLorme.

Eartha is now located in an atrium at the headquarters of DeLorme, the company that created it.  The company pushed forward cartography and geographic technologies in the 1990s and have continued to do so into the present day with the company’s acquisition by Garmin. Although Eartha took two years to complete, the existence of this globe has changed how we view the earth for many years to come.

More about Eartha on DeLorme’s site.

Can’t make a personal visit to DeLorme’s lobby? Virtually visit Earth below:

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