Monday, October 18, 2010

As the World Turns

This post could have NOT have been as expressed in the lyrics of Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman . . .
It's a world of laughter, A world of tears.
It's a world of hopes, And a world of fears.
There's so much that we share,
That it's time we're aware,
It's a small world after all.
It’s a small, small world.
Because those lyrics just don’t apply to Eartha, the current record holder for the world's largest rotating and revolving globe – at least according to the Eartha outside Guinness Book of World Records. Eartha takes front and center stage at its creator’s corporate headquarters off Route 1 in Yarmouth, Maine. It is featured in a three-story, glass-walled atrium that allows it to be easily seen from outside, although there is no cost to get a closer view inside. It is even lit at night.

Delorme signEarth’s is a creation of DeLorme, a company that provides mapping products and technical solutions for consumer and professional markets.
Before Eartha took the world title at just shy of 42 feet in diameter, the Globe of Peace (Mappamondo della Pace) in Apecchio, Pesaro, Italy was the world’s largest globe with a 33-foot diameter. More about this former title holder later in this post.

Now it’s all about Eartha, a 3-D scale model representing earth as seen from space. It weighs 5,600 pounds, and tilts at a 23.5 degree angle.

Eartha is constructed around a truss structure (Omni-Span™) with over 6,000 pieces of lightweight aluminum tubing (over 3 miles long). Its skin has 792 map panels; each covers 8° latitude X 10° longitude. The panels attach to the trusses with a custom-designed system of hidden bolts. CEO David DeLorme is credited with the design. (Remember, it’s his company.)
earthe interiorEartha revolves on a specially designed cantilever arm, rotates on an axis  and simulates a day's revolution and rotation hourly. The two electric powered and computer-commanded motors can fully rotate the globe in as little as one minute. This equipment is in a large pit below floor level and is visible to visitors; there is no public access.
eartha lever collage Construction took 2 years and was completed on July 23, 1998. Every aspect was developed using computer technology. It was constructed by DeLorme staff. (Again, remember who owns the company.) For an overall view,there’s a second and third floor balcony (Yes, there are elevators and chairs are provided on both levels if you want to sit and contemplate Eartha.)
Eartha-1st floor (3) Eartha-ALL (1) Earhta viewer  
The map data is a special composite database built from satellite imagery, shaded relief, colored ocean depth data, and information from terrestrial sources, such as road networks and urban areas.

The printed data is equal to 140 gigabytes – or 214 CDs and took over a year to compile.
According to CEO David DeLorme, “Eartha is the largest image of earth ever created. Eartha will instill a sense of wonder in people when they first see it and we hope they walk away from it with a better appreciation and knowledge of the world around them.”
Of course, if folks want to buy more information, Eartha is located just outside the company’s gift shop that carries various DeLorme and other products. Pretty nifty corporate planning isn’t that?

So the DeLorme globe is the largest rotating globe in the world, but then If you have an unlimited resources in terms of manpower and money anything is possible – even a a world record.

OK, Eartha is impressive, but then SO are the details I learned about the previous world record holder - Globe of Peace (Mappamondo della Pace) and its creator:
  • Its designer and builder was Orfeo Bartolucci, a folk artist, former mason and building contractor.
  • It was built about 1980 and took 6 years to construct.
  • The diameter is about 33 feet in diameter; weight 30 tons.
  • Bartolucci worked on the globe daily from 5 a.m. to dusk.
  • He was 75 years old and used his pension income and accumulated savings and did not borrow funding.
  • The globe is located outdoors and has a fiberglass skin.
  • It is built entirely of wood, holds 600 hundred people and is split over three floors.
  • It contains descriptive tables listing every country of the world and their flag.
  • Bartolucci is reported to have built the globe with the stated goal of diffusing a message of peace and liberty to all people.
Mappamondo della Pace is located in Apecchio, Pesaro, Italy, where the economy is based on small-scale handicraft, agriculture, production of tartufo (an Italian ice cream dessert), lumber, and tourism.

Several websites stated that the Italian globe was the world’s largest rotating globe until the DeLorme creation surpassed it. But, the DeLorme website, while mentioning the Italian globe specifically states,“it does not revolve or rotate.”

Sure read like sour grapes – isn’t getting the world title enough?

OK so a little bias is showing here. Despite countless Internet searches, I could not find sure confirmation whether or not the Italian globe rotated. But, it really doesn’t matter. What I learned about WHO built it, HOW he did it, and WHY left me more impressed with this personal achievement I’ve never seen than with the corporate mega-globe seen today.

There were NOT a lot of online images available for Globe of Peace (Mappamondo della Pace) here are a couple or “borrowed” ones.
italian globe2italian globe1
Admittedly, it would have been great to hop a plane and get to Italy to see this marvel “up close and personal” and to take some photos. Grenville just wasn’t going for the line that it was something we had to do. He mentioned something about wanting to see more of Maine. (Although, he had second thoughts when I mentioned we could get fresh bread and pasta there.)


Lois Evensen said...

Now, that is really cool! Thanks for the tour. :)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Lois, We thought Eartha was incredible too, until learning about the Italian globe and wished we could have seen that one...maybe one day, another road trip! Thanks for the visit.

Out on the prairie said...

I like how it is topographic even in the oceans.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Out on the Prarie, yes it was interesting to see the detail captured. Thanks for the re-visit!

Elaine said...

Eartha is really interesting, but I've got to agree with you that the Globe of Peace is a greater achievement. The corporate accomplishment is fantastic, but Mr. Bartolucci put his heart and soul into building his project, and that makes it very special.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Yes Elaine, my point exactly. Thanks for your comments. After seeing Eartha, I started doing some online research and that's found out about the Italian globe and when I found out what was done and how and then compared it to the DeLorme creation, it seemed clear to me WHICH was the greater accomplishment and WHY.

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