If I ever go full-villain, this'll be my Facebook profile picture.
March 9, 2011 – Most people think of the state of Maine as backwoods, cut off, sheltered, that lonely upturned elephant trunk on the Great-Lakes-coiffed elephant face of the United States…but if you've driven the I-295 corridor between the Maine cities of Portland and Freeport, then you've seen the entire world.

Yarmouth, Maine, is the headquarters of a company called DeLorme. They make maps and GPS technology. Also gigantic, record-breaking, rotating globes that you can see from the interstate. Well, just one. Eartha is her name-a.

Finished in 1998, it took DeLorme two years to get Eartha from a state of without form and void to her current 1:1,000,000-scale, topographically accurate (down to the ocean bed) self. At 41.5 feet in diameter, they’ve had this thing certified by Guinness as the biggest of its kind. She also tilts an Earth-accurate 23.5 degrees, completes a full rotation every sixty seconds when they have the choke full out, and is hollow, for those that subscribe to that theory.

Eartha is located in a giant, specially built glass atrium at its headquarters, where they let visitors come in free to see her. The building is open to the public six days a week (seven during the nicer months) and is located at 2 DeLorme Drive, right off exit 17 on I-295. They also have a large store full of maps and map-related products on site.

This largest revolving world in the whole revolving world is viewable from three levels…latitudes, I guess you could say. Up close, Eartha doesn’t disappoint in the size arena. However, she does let you down a bit when it comes to her materials. From pics I’ve seen online and from the prior times I’ve seen her from a car traveling at post-interstate speeds, Eartha looked pretty substantial. However, in real life she doesn’t seem to have the heft that these pictures give her. Mostly because up close she looks like she’s made out of smooth, colored cardboard, although I’m sure DeLorme have some kind of space-age-material name for whatever the panels are made of.

Of course, to be fair, I’ve never made a record-breaking, space-view-accurate, rotating model of the planet, so my opinion can easily be shot down with a whispered “You make one.”

However, it’s certainly worth a stop if you happen to be passing by since it’s so easy to get to and see, especially if you’re lost since, like I said, there’s a map store there.

Not exactly four elephants on the back
of a giant turtle, but it works.

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather took me here when it opened (Im from Falmouth). It was very cool!