Globes are an alternative type of map that possess a distinct advantage compared to a flat world map, its shape! Most world globes illustrate either political boundaries, or physical (relief) features of the earth using colors printed on a smooth surface. Some world globes, however, use a molded, raised relief (3D) surface to better represent mountains, valleys, and other physical features.
Terrestrial globes are typically made to rotate around a rod that extends through them at the poles. The rod, or finial, serves as the axis of the globe, and is attached to a stand. The axis is oftentimes inclined at a slight angle of 23.5 degrees to represent the earth's axis in relationship to the Sun. World floor globes are then fitted to a stand or base that displays the globe and allows for the globe to be turned in any direction, so that any part of the globe can easily be viewed or studied.
The big advantage of a world globe is its ability to represent the Earth's surface with no distortion. World globes are used for planning both sea and air routes (called great circle routes), and the routes of satellites. These types of trips and routes are more accurately measured on a world globe than a flat map because of the world globes' depiction of the Earth's curvature with no distortion.
Different types of globes:
Floor Globes - Have taller stands made out of wood or metal.
Desktop Globes - Full sized ball with a shorter stand meant to go on a table or desk.
Illuminated Globes - Have a light bulb inside, an electrical cord and can be great atmosphere lighting.
Mini Globes - Similar to desktop globes, but smaller. Diameter measures 6" or less.
Inflatable Globes - Easily blow up and resemble beach balls.