When Globes Can Be Useful
Globes are maps, which are three-dimensional. They show the world as it truly is, round. When looking at a flat map of the earth, a person gets an unclear perception of the earth and the distance between places. When the world is depicted on a flat surface, the information contained on it is distorted, for instance, places are stretched out and may appear much larger then they really are
For children learning about the world, a globe is a wonderful tool in teaching them about our Earth, where places are located, and how far apart they are. They can get a clear understanding that our Earth is one great big ball that is connected on all sides, not a flat that ends on either side. In the days of Columbus, it was argued that the earth was flat, while this idea seems silly now, for small children who have never been introduced to a globe but have seen maps may very easily get the same impression.
Globes are not only useful for teaching children about the world, they are also important for travelers. Many people do not realize how useful globes can be when planning a trip, particularly by air. Traditionally it is said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. However, people that have looked at flight paths before, see that airlines very rarely set out on a straight line they curve. Why is that? You would think that the airline would want to get to the destination as quickly as possible. The fact is they are, usually. Try this experiment if a globe or other ball is available. Decide on a starting point and an end point. Pull a string from each point in a straight line, and measure how long the string is, and then do the same thing only adding a curve, taking after a typical flight plan. You will see that the amount of string used this time is shorter. The reason for this is the simple fact, the world is round, and the shortest distance between two points on a round object is a curved line.
Most people would not dream of carrying a globe with them in place of an easy to fold, travel map, and with good reason. Globes are bulky and do not have the detailed information needed to travel from one point to the next. That is not what they are meant for. Travel maps are the appropriate choice for people who need to know how to get from one place to the next. A globes purpose is to show where places are in relation to each other, in a global sense.
Each type of map, whether flat or round is meant for a specific purpose and used to obtain different types of information. Just as it would be silly to use a globe in place of a good road map while traveling by car, it is clear that it would be just as silly for airlines to use a flat map when deciding on flight paths.