Driving along I-295 in Yarmouth, Maine, it’s near impossible not to see Eartha.
Housed within a three-story gallery made of glass, Eartha resides at the headquarters for DeLorme (acquired by the GPS mapping company, Garmin, in 2016). It is the largest earth-mimicking globe in the world. It was designed by David DeLorme and construction completed in 1998. In 1999, it took the prestigious Guinness record, blowing the previous holders out of the water.
Just shy of a diameter of 42 feet, Eartha is a scale model replica of our planet, with just under one inch equaling sixteen miles. And just like our planet, Eartha has a tilt of 23.5 degrees and rotates on that axis via electric motor. At the same time, another electric motor swivels the earth’s replica, illustrating day/night and yearly cycles. In just under 18 minutes, Eartha completes one full “year.” Her motors could revolve at such a velocity that she could whip through an entire earth year in just 60 seconds – however, that display of speed caused her motors to break down, and in 2006 Eartha required repairs. It took just under two years and many man-hours to rebuild her propulsion system. By the end of 2007, she began marking the days again.
Eartha’s home is a three-story, weatherproof glass atrium located at 2 DeLorme Drive, in which she swivels on a custom created cantilever. DeLorme’s creation can be viewed from three different vantage points:
The South Pole
On the ground floor inside the lobby, there is a geocaching display illustrating this fun hobby. There are also geocoins to examine.
Take I-295 to exit 17. Turn northeast on US Highway 1, and take an immediate right on DeLorme Drive. Lobby hours are 8:30 to 5:00 daily, but you can view her through the surrounding glass walls at any time. Admission to the lobby is free.
Viewing your planet this way might make you feel like an ant when you realize just how small we are in the grand scheme of things, or you might just feel the way an astronaut does upon seeing the planet in her full glory.
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