Geeky States of America: Maine’s Scale Model of Planet Earth

Eartha
Image: Sarah Pinault

In case you’ve missed the news recently, it has been a little cold in Maine recently.

Once you have exhausted the Children’s Museum, the new play center at the mall, and the various play centers around town, you might consider taking a trip that’s a little more out of this world.

Just twenty minutes from Portland, DeLorme, renowned maker of maps, offers far more than a gift shop for your little (and big) ones to explore on a less than clement day. Eartha is a scale replica of the Earth, complete with a scaled down simulation of the Earth’s rotation. In 1991, at forty-one feet, one and one-half inches, Guinness proclaimed it the “World’s Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe.” You can observe Eartha from three different levels, and even at a young age my pre-schooler had a lot of fun checking out the planet he lives on, from a unique perspective. We were able to show him where his grandparents live in England, in comparison to us, and where his Australian cousins, somewhat distants(!) live.

Here are some fun facts about Eartha to enhance your trip:

  • At a scale of 1:1,000,000, California is three and a half feet tall.
  • Eartha is constructed of over 6,000 pieces of lightweight aluminum tubing and 792 map sections, each of which covers 8° latitude by 10° longitude.
  • Eartha tilts at 23.5 degrees on a specially designed cantilever arm.
  • The mapping data required to produce Eartha takes up 140 gigabytes.
  • A complete rotation takes eighteen minutes, though it is rumored that the machinery would withstand a sixty second rotation, albeit not too often!
  • While the building is only open from 9 til 6, Eartha is visible 24/7 through the three-story glass atrium that holds it. It’s certainly a sight when you drive off the highway.
  • The next closest replica is the previous record holder in Italy. The Globe of Peace in Apeccio, Pesaro measures only 33 feet in diameter and neither revolves nor rotates.

Get the GeekDad Books!