The Lenox Globe – held at New York Public Library – is the oldest surviving globe to depict the New World. It was recently digitized using the combination of a 3D structured light scanner and the MegaVision hyper spectral system.
By imaging the globe from top to bottom and conducting a 3D scan of it, the researchers plan to provide a precise digital record of the object that will last for generations, giving scholars and members of the public a glimpse at what people knew about world geography in the early 1500s.
The researchers took 18 pictures around the globe’s equator, 39 images at various latitudes and one of the pole; then, they repeated the process for the Southern Hemisphere.
Although the globe looks spherical, it’s not perfect, which can cause distortion in the 3D digital replica. So, after taking the high-resolution color images, the researchers made 3D scans of the globe. By wrapping the 2D multispectral images around the 3D scan, they can get a much more accurate reconstruction of the globe.
A masterpiece of workmanship, the Lenox Globe measures 4.4 inches across (11.2 centimeters), and the hollow copper sphere is engraved with almost microscopic detail. The globe’s maker is unknown and its age is disputed, but based on the geography it depicts, some historians say the object was likely made between 1503 and 1507.
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