Saturday, August 9, 2014


The giant globe
Vacations are wonderful times to rediscover old places but they are also opportunities to discover new ones. And for me, my most recent discovery is Eartha at the DeLorme map store in Yarmouth, Maine. Having grown up in Maine I am familiar with DeLorme maps and their massive atlases which assisted us with the ins and outs of traveling long before GPS became an everyday technology. The battered and much used pale blue book of Maine maps was a mainstay in my mother's car and I remember spending hours leafing through its pages checking out places I had visited and ones I had never visited. (Those large blocks of Maine wilderness named in terms of township numbers rather than place names always intrigued me and I wondered whether they were real......They are....). In later years I remember a large storefront opening up on the Freeport-Yarmouth border. I was always in a rush heading to one location or another when I passed so I never stopped in but I wondered about the large globe that graced their multi-floor windows. And finally on my most recent drive by we stopped in and I was able to check out what this larger than life globe was all about.

Named Eartha, the globe was completed in 1998 and was awarded the still standing Guinness Book of World Records title of "the world's largest rotating and revolving globe" the following year. Weighing in at 5,600 pounds and with a surface area of 41 feet in diameter its scale is the equivalent of 1 inch to 16 miles on earth. It represents one of the largest computer mapping databases in the world and is comprised of 140 gigabytes of information. Trust me when I say that it is big. As if the size wasn't enough to be impressive, it rotates at a rate of 1 rotation every 18 minutes meaning you can sit on the viewing benches and watch the world slowly turn right before your eyes.

And the details on the globe include everything.  It includes shaded relief and colored bathymetry (for the ocean depth data) as well as information on road networks and urban areas around the world. We visited during the daylight hours but at night the globe is illuminated meaning drivers on the nearby Interstate 95 are treated to an almost other worldly view of their world as they pass on by. Now that's pretty cool. Best of all, stopping in to see the globe in person will cost you nothing. It is free and while there you can also visit the really cool gift shop and use their clean restrooms. Now how's that for a quick pit stop?

A little perspective; the globe viewed from three
stories high
If you go:
DeLorme Map Store
2 DeLorme Drive
Yarmouth, ME 04096

Hours vary but they are open most days

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