55 globes from the BnF collection have been digitized in 3D

MapISH news

Dear all,

Thanks to a skills sponsorship from the Japanese firm Dai Nippon Printing Co., 55 globes from the BnF collectionhave been digitized in 3D. It is the first time so many globes are digitized in volume, and with such details : the precise shape of each object has been scanned, and combined with a high definition texture.

These globes can be accessed on Gallica, the BnF digital library, via dedicated pages. It is possible to navigate the globes

-        by theme(terrestrial, celestial, metallic globes),

-        by century,

-        by geographical origin.

Once you’ve selected the globe you wish to see, clicking the « 3D » button launches the viewer. The digitized item can be rotated in all directions, and zoomed in to discern details not easily seen on the original globe.


The Maps and plans department of the BnF keeps one of the world’s main ancient globes collections : more than 100 terrestrial and celestial globes, dating from the 11th to the 19th century, coming from European or Islamic countries. Among them, unique items from the 16th century, hand-written or etched on metal, exemplify the Great Discoveries era, like Waldseemüller’s 'Green globe', the 1535 'Wooden globe' or the 'Globe of Rouen' (2nd half of the 16th century). The Dutch Golden Age is also present, with globes from Blaeu, Hondius or Van Langren. The 18th century pieces show more numerous globe-makers in France (Delisle, Bion, Delure, Baradelle, Nollet, Robert de Vaugondy, etc.) and across Europe, like Doppelmayr, Senex, Adams.The digitized selection also includes some items of the 19thcentury production (Delamarche, Dien, Thury, Kiepert, etc.) up until a remarkable 1896 Moon globe by Flammarion.


Have a good time with these fascinating spheres !


Catherine Hofmann