Today I have the pleasure to announce that Marble is the first popular virtual globe that ships and visualizes the Behaim Globe. The Behaim Globe is the oldest surviving terrestrial globe on earth. It was created between 1492 and 1493 - yes at the same time when Christopher Columbus made his first voyage towards the west and "discovered" America. This fact makes the Behaim Globe very special and also subject to scientific research: It documents European cartography during that era and it's probably the only historic globe which completely lacks the American continent.
Starting with the next Marble release scheduled for December 2015 the Behaim Globe map theme will become a regular part of the map themes that are shipped with the Marble installation package by default.
In addition the Marble project released a special Behaim Marble version in the Google Play Store. So users of Android devices – like smartphones and tablets – can enjoy the Behaim Globe, too! This also marks the first public release of a Marble based application on Android devices.
The photographic material of the Behaim Globe is based on digital scans made by the Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen-Nuremberg and the IPF TU Wien. These scans were performed using polarized light. This is also part of the reason for the vibrant colors that you can see in the map theme - visually the colors of the Behaim globe are much more subdued. During the past centuries the Behaim Globe has been subject to several "restoration attempts" and "editing", which also resulted e.g. in text changes. Therefore today's scientific research also focuses on the Behaim globe as a palimpsest. Using Marble's legend tab our users can compare the photomaterial of the Behaim Globe with facsimile drawings from 1853 and 1908 which also reveals differences.