Friday, August 23, 2013

How to get the most Educational use out of World Globes

Flat, folded maps are perfectly fine, but nothing replaces the educational benefits of having impressive and highly detailed world globes.  In this day and age of Google Earth, many feel that the younger generation is simply missing out.  After all, the earth is round.  Therefore, viewing the world through a traditional flat map or atlas very often tends to lose something in translation.

Map-makers mean well, but….

Professional cartographers have taken great strides in attempting to make flat maps and online versions appear as accurately as possible to globes.  They slice around the top and the bottom of the earth, signifying the north and south poles, in an attempt to try to make the entire map look more visually proportional.  But it never really quite works.

Lafayette Floor Standing Blue Ocean Globe
Lafayette Blue Ocean Globe
Another issue is that whichever country lies to the left side of the map appears thousands of miles away from the countries on the right.  Flat maps simply play tricks on the mind.    The 3-D effect of traditional world globes tend to help both children and adults alike to better visualize how one area of the world relates to another.

Furthermore, when you try to flatten out the earth to an onscreen version provided by Google, certain portions of the geography will need to be stretched in order to make the entire image fit onto the screen.  This is very misleading.  Because the Earth is round, the middle portion around the equator is actually a bit “puffed out”.  It is impossible to clearly depict this rounding effect on a flat map.  Globes simply provide significantly better educational benefits.

Other distortions and misinformation

The only way to make a flat map work is to basically shrink some areas while expanding others.  This provides a completely skewed view of the world as a whole.  Nothing replaces the traditional world globes for providing the most concise and clear view.  Remember back to grammar school when you were first looking at your teachers’ Mercator maps that hung on the wall?  Very often, you would look at the United States in comparison to individual countries of Africa, and the United States always looked enormous.

This is not actually true.  The map-makers had to slightly alter the geography in order to get everything to fit on a flat map.  The reason that your teacher used these maps was because, back then, globes came in a very limited selection of sizes.  Today, our options are much more diverse.

Global popularity on the rise

The popularity of world globes for the home, in particular, has been growing substantially in recent years as parents are becoming more and more involved with the education of their children.  Another
Waypoint Geographic Navigator Globe
Navigator Blue Ocean Globe
reason for this rise in popularity is that globes are now more easily available for purchase and in an infinite variety of styles, colors, and sizes.  In previous generations, the options were severely limited to the traditional plastic globe of approximately 12 inches in diameter.  Now, homeowners can buy modern styles, historical designs, versions that light up and speak, and even world globes that play games with your children.

There is a wonderful scene in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.  The aliens made contact with Earth by communicating via satellite a particular set of Earth coordinates.  The scientists and government officials race to a nearby office, in the hope of locating one of the office globes on property.  By using the longitude and latitude lines clearly depicted, they were able to precisely locate the intended destination for meeting our alien friends.  A globe simply provides a wide array of educational benefits that cannot clearly be depicted or learned from a traditional flat map or atlas.

Endless varieties

Luckily we live in an age where the manufacturing possibilities for world globes allows for them to be produced in a variety of different designs and applications.  No longer must we submit to having their traditional classroom variety located in our impeccably designed interiors of our homes and offices.  You can now purchase pieces of furniture that are formed like globes, perhaps as a mobile bar or saloon that houses your favorite wines and liquors.  There are numerous variety of bookends that are shaped like a globe, and you can even purchase an inflatable version for playing in pools and parks.

There are constellation globes and space globes, where the earth is not depicted at all.  What is clearly shown instead are the star patterns as they are located to specific points on the earth’s geography.  Check out our catalog online at

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