Visiting Eartha: The World’s Largest Rotating and Revolving Globe

If you’ve got a soft spot for geography or you just can’t resist the allure of a good ol’ map, then you absolutely can’t miss out on Eartha when you find yourself in the vicinity of Portland, Maine.

It’s the kind of quirky roadside gem that’s as easy to swing by as it is to miss it – but let me tell you, it’s a detour worth making.

Below, I’ll give you all of the details you need to know to globe-trot your way to Eartha and bask in the sheer masterpiece that it is.

What is Eartha?

Eartha is the largest rotating and revolving globe in the world, according to Garmin. It was designed by Former CEO of DeLorme Maps, David DeLorme, and completed on July 23, 1998. At the time it was the largest printed image of earth ever created.

Where is Eartha?

You’ll find Eartha in Yarmouth, Maine, just a quick 15-minute hop north from Portland, Maine. This massive globe is housed within the Garmin office, which used to be the headquarters of DeLorme Maps before Garmin purchased the company and the building in 2016.

Eartha outside of office building

How to visit Eartha

Eartha rolls out the welcome mat to the public during regular business hours, which are from 9 AM to 3 PM on weekdays. And here’s the best part – it won’t cost you a single dime. No tickets, no reservations – all you’ve got to do is stroll right in!

Eartha globe

Our experience visiting Eartha

We got to Eartha around 2 PM, with a good hour to spare before closing time. Fall can be quite the tourist rush in the region, but on a weekday, it was pleasantly uncrowded.

When you arrive, just watch for those visitor parking signs – that’s where you want to park. A quick walk from there, and you’re at the building’s entrance. No fuss, no frills

As soon as you arrive, you can spot the colossal globe through the glass windows, confirming that you’re in the right place. This means you can also see it when the building is closed and it’s actually lit up at night which can make for an interesting sight.

The moment you step inside, prepare to be utterly captivated by this colossal globe. It’s a whopping 41′, 1 1/2″ in diameter and tips the scales at around 5,600 pounds.

The total circumference? Just a couple of inches over 129 feet, and the surface area? A vast 5,313 square feet. It’s big enough to leave anyone in awe.

All of these figures are per the official Guinness world record plaque in the lobby. Worth noting, some of the information panels contradict those measurements, but I think those may have been unofficial measurements made before Guinness came in and did their inspection but that’s just my speculation.

Eartha globe from the first floor

One quick look, and you’ll notice that Eartha has a distinctive tilt – and that’s by design. It’s all about mimicking Earth’s own 23.5° tilt on its axis.

If you peek underneath, you’ll catch a glimpse of the machinery that keeps this colossal globe revolving and rotating. The power behind the scenes comes from two electric motors, and an infrared device transmits information from the stationary base computers to the revolving cantilever arm. It also utilizes an innovative Truss structure, which features two pyramids, a tetrahedron and a pentahedron fitted together.

Underneath eartha

Crank this mechanical system up to full throttle, and Eartha can complete a full rotation in a mere 60 seconds!

However, when we visited, it took a more leisurely 10 minutes for the entire rotation. It seems like they adjust the speed every so often so you’ll just have to see how long it takes for one “day” on Eartha when you visit.

If you have a keen eye for details, you’ll spot something intriguing: Eartha’s makeup. It’s crafted from a grand total of 792 panels, each one neatly mapping out an 8° latitude by 10° longitude slice of our planet. (It’s said that in the original construction, the governor of Maine placed the last one.)

These panels are perched on Eartha’s skeleton, a hefty Omni span truss structure. This intricate framework is constructed from 6,000-plus pieces of aluminum tubing. To put that in perspective, if you laid those tubes end to end, you’d have a staggering nearly three miles of aluminum at your feet. That’s one sturdy globe!

The globe had recently been disassembled and worked on in 2023 so we were seeing the recently finished product. (I’m not sure if they did anything new with the images on the map, though.)

Don’t forget to give those maps a good once-over; they’re teeming with intricate details that help you appreciate the geographical features and even the cities. The real charm lies in the finer points, like the detailed rivers and mountains.

Close-up of Amazon river Eartha globe

And here’s a fun fact: Eartha is built to a scale of 1:1,000,000. Every inch on Eartha represents approximately 16 miles on our good old Earth.

You’ve got options when it comes to soaking in Eartha’s grandeur. On the first floor, you’ll have a solid view, with benches and comfy seating to relax on while you watch the globe twirl.

Eartha globe
Eartha globe seating area

But if you’ve got a taste for elevation, venture up to the second or third floors for an even higher vantage point. And if stairs aren’t your thing, no worries – there’s an elevator ready to whisk you to the top for that extra dose of globe-gazing delight.

Eartha globe from second story

As you ascend to the upper floors, you’ll discover more comfy benches for relaxation. While you’re up there, you might catch a glimpse of the employees’ workspaces – just remember to be respectful of their hustle.

Eartha globe from second story

Before you bid adieu to Eartha, make sure to give those information panels on the bottom floor a good look. They’re chock-full of fascinating nuggets, some of which I’ve spilled in this article. But you’ll also stumble upon visuals that reveal just how sprawling the solar system would be if all the planets were scaled down like Eartha.

One of the coolest things to think about is that if a mini space shuttle were flying above Eartha at the same scale as an actual shuttle above Earth, it would be orbiting 14 inches above the globe. That really gives you a sense of how close to the earth the shuttles would orbit and put things into perspective.

Eartha globe from third story

Once you’ve had your fill of globe-trekking, swing by the Magno Terra Cafe. They’ve got you covered with a selection of beverages and light snacks, the perfect capper to your Eartha adventure.

Final word

I’ve always been fascinated by maps and globes so when I first found out that Eartha was only about 15 minutes away from where I would be in Portland, Maine, it was pretty much a no-brainer to go visit.

I honestly still didn’t know quite what to expect though. After all, this attraction was located in the lobby of an office building so how interesting could it really be?

But when we arrived I was instantly fascinated by the huge scale of the globe and also its rotating mechanisms. It’s just a unique experience to see something like this and the fact that it actually rotates (and revolves) makes it all the more interesting to observe.

One comment

  1. I visited Earth’s last August while on a bus tour of Maine. It is as impressive as. In the article. The stop was not advertised to us on the tour, but I am glad we stopped. Great piece of engineering and fun to see.

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