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Most commercially available globes of the earth show countries in different colors. A few show elevations or climactic regions in different colors, still with lots of country borders and names on.
A lot of globes in people's houses still show the USSR. And the border of Yemen has never been determined
Idea: manufacture a globe that does NOT show countries, cities, or indeed any sort of manmade and therefore mutable feature. Intstead, use sattelite photos to create a globe that looks, more or less, exactly like the Earth would from space, if it were shrunk down really really small, and all the clouds removed. Mmmaaaybe do a version with topological lines.
Make sure the surface is wipeable and distribute with an erasable marker or crayon. Tah-daaah! Always wanted a globe of the Roman Empire? Interested in giving your students more prespective by showing what political divisions existed in 2300 BC? Sci-fi writer working out flight distances between New Brunswick and the newly-constructed Isle of Liftoff? Now you can draw it all in!
Or, if you're the contemplative type, just set it up in your den, put "From A Distance" on the stereo, and bathe in the warm glow of optimism. Or cackle maniacally and destroy Hawaii with a brush of your fingers! Your choice.
Raised Rellief Globe
You might enjoy this handsome specialty globe with exaggerated relief. Doesn't look like the sort you'd want to draw on, though. [jurist, Nov 26 2006]
NASA Photo Inflatable Globe
These NASA toy globes are pretty cool, too, without political boundaries but glow-in-the-dark city locations. Shame about the pesky clouds, though. At just $14.95USD for each, you could use a different globe for each map you wanted to chart without having to worry about wiping it off for re-use. Just deflate, store away in a flat-file, and buy another. [jurist, Nov 26 2006]
Black-and-white, rivers, no words. But has country- and US state boundaries. [jutta, Nov 26 2006]
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||I was hoping that this would be a globe made out of OLEDs and then had a satellite subscription that provides current topographical information. Either geo, political, weather, whatever that was always up to minute current.
||[NTSS] - yeah, a spherical display would be great, but this idea would be a bit cheaper (+).
||The globe could be set up so it can rotate itself and a pen can move up and down its stand to plot points automatically (and also erase them), it'd be a kind of spherical printer. If the globe were blank you could load different maps onto it. The past positions of the continents, the topography of mars, your very own world...
||I have often wanted to draw on my globe but don't for fear of ruining it forever. Your globe allows me to do so. BAKERY GOODS FOR ALL!
||Unlike this idea, that would be technological overkill and is unlikely to be produced; consequently, it keeps coming up on this site - see "Animated News Globe" and "LiveGlobe".
||[jurist], something similar in look to that Infalatable Globe was what I was imagining. I'd just rather have one with the same sturdiness of construction (and ability to put on a stand and spin) as a normal desktop globe.
||I am in awe of the Raised Relief Globe. But it's juuust a tad unrealistic. Also, my bank account cries for mercy at the mere sight. Hellishlly nifty, though.
||I suppose it's time to update my PangaeaGlobe.