18' internally illuminated giant globe at the Vancouver Convention Center

About Orbis and EarthBalls

Orbis World Globes is a cartographic design company located north of Seattle, on beautiful Orcas Island, in Washington State’s Salish Sea. We are modern pioneers in the field of photorealistic Earth imaging. Orbis developed the first generation of world globes to display our planet as it appears from outer space, complete with its atmospheric cloudforms, our Orbis EarthBalls.

We also introduced the first world replicas to display Earth’s city lights through the use of photoluminescence. These look like the Earth from space at night, with glowing cities showing where the population centers are.

The Orbis/NASA Blue Marble imagery represents the most visually authentic global view of Planet Earth ever created. Our globes combine NASA’s newest generation of satellite imaging with Orbis’ cutting-edge globemaking technology. The resulting creation represents a new level of global cartography – highly photorealistic world globes. These globes enable millions of would-be space travellers to experience the astronauts’ perspective of observing our home planet from outer space.

EarthBall timeline

1985 Founder Eric J. Morris is inspired by the early photographs of the whole Earth taken by the NASA astronauts during the Apollo Moon voyages. These images of Earth motivate him to create a truly spherical & photorealistic representation of our planet as it appears from deep space.

1986 Morris’ first company, Pacific Drum, brings to market its original 16-inch diameter inflatable “reality” globe: ‘The WholeEarth Ball.’ These globes are the first replicas of Earth ever created to depict the astronauts’ view of our planet from space.

1987-91 WholeEarth Balls become EarthBalls; Pacific Drum morphs into EarthSource and clones hundreds of thousands of little worlds which travel everywhere – into homes, classrooms, offices, churches, theaters – around the world and beyond…

1992 … Into Space! One very special EarthBall is launched into orbit aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis in March of 1992. During their nine day, 3.7 million mile journey, the seven astronauts of mission STS-45 deployed the EarthBall in filming the NASA educational video “The Atmosphere Below”. See EarthBalls in Space

1996-1999 Development of Orbis digital cartography. Product design – LifeSphere, AeroChair, etc.

2000 The first digitally printed giant Earth globe premieres at The World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Alberta.

2001 The EarthBlimp, Orbis’ helium-filled, rotating, lighter-than-air Earthship flies overhead in San Francisco’s Marriott Hotel for The Discovery Health Channel. See EarthBlimps

2002 Through a collaboration with NASA, Orbis transforms MODIS satellite data into the most authentic photographic representation of Planet Earth ever created. This evolutionary acomplishment makes its spherical debut at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah in the form of two 16 foot diameter rotating Orbis World Globes.

2003 Orbis installs giant rotating world globes in several museums & libraries; creates a 20 foot diameter world globe for a concert in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome; is recognized with the “best of show” award at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, etc..

2004 The 16 inch EarthBall is re-introduced as an updated version of the world’s original “reality globe”, now featuring the same NASA digital satellite imagery as Orbis Giant Globes. On August 29th, a 11 foot diameter Orbis globe symbolizing a peaceful planet appears with 500,000 people in the streets of New York City and is seen by millions worldwide.

2005 Orbis develops the internal illumination feature for its world globes and produces the first internally illuminated Orbis globes; creates a 10 foot diameter world globe for Blue Origin – Jeff Bezos’ spaceship development compoany.

2006 Orbis launches the new one-meter diameter EarthBall; delivers three giant globes for an exposition in Dubai; installs a 10 foot diameter globe in Chicago’s Field Museum for their “Evolving Planet” exhibit; and produces a 10 foot diameter internally illuminated globe at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA. Orbis also displays a 16 foot diameter globe at the United Nations World Urban Forum in Vancouver BC; and completes a unique 10 foot diameter internally illuminated globe featuring a pair of “orbiting’ backlit signboxes for The EnvirOx Company.

2007 Orbis displays two 10 foot world globes (one with custom graphics & another with NASA imagery) at the NADA show in Las Vegas; and creates several more 10 & 12 foot diameter custom globes for Budweiser and Gtech Corporation. Orbis develops 6 and 12 foot diameter Moon globes for NASA, X-Prize and Google. Orbis provides giant world globes for AAA, The Bioneers Conference, The Discovery Channel, and The X-Prize Space Exposition. Orbis World Globes are featured in the annual NASA publication, “Spinoff”, covering the transfer of NASA-developed technologies for public & private industry.

2008 Orbis creates a Saturn globe with rings for The Raytheon Company and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); two 4 foot diameter Moon globes for NASA and Lockheed Martin Mission Services. Orbis provides a 16 foot diameter Earth globe for the NASA display at the AARP National Expo in Washington, DC; and produces another 10 foot diameter internally illuminated globe for the “Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum” in Denver, CO; a pair of 8 foot diameter globes for The Volvo Ocean Race; and a 6 foot diameter world globe for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland.

2009 Orbis produces a record number of giant globe installations, including a 6′ installation for an elementary school in Palm Beach, FL; a 12 foot illuminated globe for a mega-church in Rogers, AR; a 10 foot internally illuminated globe for the new Centennial Building at Loma Linda University Medical School in Los Angeles, CA; and an 18 foot illuminated globe for Vancouver Canada’s new Convention Centre, which became the International Broadcast Media Center during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Orbis also produced many globes for special events, including a custom 8 foot sphere for Gtech Corporation; a 6 foot Earth globe for NASA; a 3′ Moon globe for Lockheed Martin; and three very custom ‘pink’ world globes for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

2010 Orbis’ biggest project to date: eight planets and moons ranging from 1 to 23 feet in diameter, for Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Space Fantasy is an indoor roller coaster ride through the solar system wherein riders get catapulted past comets, moons and planets, travel through a meteor shower, and loop around a giant 23 foot (7 meter) diameter Earth before voyaging to the center of the Sun!

Orbis produced and delivered a 16.4 foot (5 meter) diameter internally illuminated globe to the Newcastle Regional Museum in Newcastle, Australia

Orbis created an 8 foot diameter internally illuminated globe with a custom mount for the Third Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa.

2011
Orbis built an 8 foot diameter cloudfree globe for the Global Learning Academy in Pensacola, FL as well as two 6 foot and one 5 foot diameter globes.
Kennesaw State University 3’

2012
Orbis created a 10 foot diameter internally illuminated globe with a custom pedestal mount for the Heroy Geology Building, Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, and a 10 foot diameter internally illuminated globe for the West Oak Lane Charter School in Philadelphia, PA.
6’, 4’ custom

2013
Orbis produced and installed a 10 foot diameter globe with a South Pole LED floodlight and a retractable suspension mount for Ripley’s Aquarium Canada in Toronto.
6’ cloud-free
Orbis created and installed a 12.4 foot (3.8-meter) diameter internally illuminated custom globe for Heineken at the IFEA European Soccer Final at Wembley Stadium in London.
Orbis built and installed an 8 foot diameter internally illuminated globe at Piner High School in Santa Rosa CA.
6’ illum
Orbis produced an 8 foot diameter internally illuminated globe for the Flight Centre Ltd in Sidney, Australia.
Norfolk Academy 6’
Orbis produced two 10 foot diameter internally illuminated custom globes for the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies

2014
8’ , 8’,
Orbis created and installed an 8 foot diameter internally illuminated globe in the lobby of the Shore Country Day School in Beverly, MA.
6’, 6’,
Orbis built and installed a 9 foot diameter custom globe for the Pachamama Portal art installation at Burning Man in Black Rock City, NV.

2015
Orbis created and installed a 11.5 foot (3.5m) diameter internally illuminated globe in the lobby of the new 47 story financial tower in Panama City, Panama.
6’, 10’ Northwest Youth Music Association
6’ illum Cook Nuclear Energy Information Center
Orbis produced and installed an 8 foot diameter internally illuminated globe in the atrium of the Heartland Worship Center in Paducah, KY

2016
Orbis created a 11.5 foot (3.5m) diameter custom globe featuring the NASA Black Marble imagery of the Earth at night w/ photoluminescence city lights.
Orbis produced and installed a 6 foot diameter internally illuminated globe in the new Fort Campbell High School in Fort Campbell, KY.
5′