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Insights & Trends 3 min read

Why are maps better than globes?

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One is flat, the other is round and both help you navigate. But which is more useful?

Have you heard about the largest rotating globe in the world? It's located at the headquarters of DeLorme Mapping Company in Yarmouth, Maine. This 3D representation of the Earth measures 12.6m (41.5ft) in diameter and weighs 25 tons, making it the largest rotating and revolving globe in the world. 

However, when compared to maps, globes have some limitations that make them fall short. Here are four reasons why.

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Pocket power

Maps are a practical and accessible alternative to globes. Unlike globes, which are round and difficult to fold, maps offer a flat representation of the Earth's surface that is easy to store, distribute and use for everyday navigation. 

They can be conveniently printed in various sizes and formats, from small pocket-sized maps to navigation apps on your smartphone. This versatility makes maps much more widely accessible and practical than globes, especially when traveling or navigating a city. And if you're still not convinced, just try fitting a globe in your purse.

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Changing spaces

While globes provide a generalized view of the Earth, they cannot adapt to changes as easily. In contrast, maps can quickly incorporate updates like new roads, changes in city infrastructure and altered geopolitical borders. Additionally, maps can display specialized representations of geographic features such as topography, population density, or transportation networks, which globes are unable to do.

How location technology is used across different industries

AutomotiveThe automotive industry employs maps extensively in developing ADAS solutions and autonomous driving features to enhance vehicle navigation, situational awareness and decision-making by leveraging high-precision map data for real-time analysis and guidance.
Fleet ManagementThe logistics industry harnesses mapping technology for routing, turn-by-turn directions, traffic updates and points of interest (POIs) to optimize route planning, increase efficiency, and ensure timely deliveries.
Supply ChainBy optimizing routes, tracking shipments and enhancing delivery efficiency, location technology ultimately streamlines operations and improves overall supply chain performance.

Personal touch

When it comes to practical use, maps provide much more versatility than globes, mostly because they can be personalized to include features such as annotations, markers and overlays, making maps ideal not only for easy navigation but also for educational purposes, business presentations and data visualization. 

Both digital and printed maps are also reliable sources of spatial information in many industries and use cases, making them infinitely more applicable than globes.

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Fresher outlook

The flat nature of maps simplifies comparison and measurement, facilitating the calculation of distances, areas and angles. This essential characteristic of maps serves as a foundation for various tasks, including route planning, spatial analysis and logistics. Digital maps undergo regular updates to incorporate real-time data, ensuring accuracy and up-to-date information. This means maps remain indispensable tools for travelers, emergency services and urban planners.

While globes provide a comprehensive and tactile representation of the Earth, maps hold distinct advantages, making them the more practical, versatile, and accurate choice. In various situations, maps often outperform globes in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. While globes possess their aesthetic charm and offer a distinctive Earth perspective, maps clearly excel in practicality, portability, customization and access to the latest information.

Maja Stefanovic

Maja Stefanovic

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