Thursday, March 26, 2020

The British Library's Digital Globes

The British Library is busy digitizing its collection of globes and making them available as 3D interactive visualizations. The library's collection of around 150 globes dates from the 17th century up until to the present day. The globes are fragile objects and so are not generally open to the public. Which is partly why the library wants to make them accessible as virtual globes online.

The first ten of the 3D digitized globes are now available to view. Sylvia Sumira, one of the world's leading authorities on historic globes, introduces the first ten globes in European globes of the 17–18th centuries. In her article, on the British Library website, Sylvia explores how globes were made and used in the 17th and 18th centuries. The article is illustrated by ten historic vintage 3D globes.

These first ten globes include both celestial and terrestrial globes. It even includes what could be the first small pocket globe, made by Joseph Moxon in 1679. You have probably seen maps before which show California as an island. Richard Cushee's 1730 globe (3D globe available in the article) also displays the island of California floating off the western coast of North America.

If you are interested in viewing more historical vintage globes then you should pay a visit to the Virtual Globes Museum. This site includes 3d versions of the 1507 Waldseemüller globe, a number of Earth and celestial globes by the Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu and globes by the Venetian Vincenzo Coronelli.

You can also view 3d versions of Mercator's Earth Globe and Mercator's Celestial Globe on the University of Lausanne's website. Finally, Miranda's World Map (1706) and Coronelli's Terrestial Globe can be explored in 3D using the State Library of New South Wales's Meridian application.

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