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Earthwalk Explorer

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Trek across a realistic physical relief map of the Northeastern USA! The 3-dimensional Earthwalk Explorer map is a 16-foot long map showcasing the eastern United States from North Carolina to New Hampshire. Visitors explore hundreds of miles of terrain with each footstep.

  • Explore physical landforms
  • Watch animated Geoshows show right on the map
  • Visit the Petroglyph replica
  • See waterways, cities, and roads
  • Jump into a kids activity

Admission is FREE*! But you must reserve your time to visit in advance; and tickets are limited. Reserve your free tickets here.

*Please Note: Da Vinci Science Center’s permanent exhibits will NOT be available during this time. These experiences remain closed due to COVID-19. Earthwalk Explorer is the ONLY experience available during this time period. Visitors must take off shoes before walking on the map. Socks must be worn. Disposable foot socks will be provided if needed. It's a one-of-a-kind experience that invites children of all ages to come, explore, and connect with the geography and history of our nation in ways never before imagined. 

About Earthwalk Explorer

Visitors to Earthwalk Explorer will experience projections of mountain ranges, forests, rivers and lakes, state borders, cities, trails, and cultural features. Putting their “feet to earth” visitors can trek across the spines of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Alleghenies, or Adirondacks, or follow the river valleys of the Susquehanna, James, or Hudson. They can touch the highest point in the state with their fingers or point out their home towns with their toes. The Explorer uses a horizontal scale of 1 inch = 3.88 miles.

Earthwalk Explorer features colorful Geoshows projected onto the map to tell stories that combine geography, history, and culture, such as the two current Geoshows about the Native American presence in Pennsylvania.

  1. One focuses on the network of native trails that later formed the foundation of America’s modern highway network.
  2. The other animates the rich legacy of the Lenape and Susquehannock tribes, focusing on petroglyphs found throughout Pennsylvania. A replica of a famous petroglyph from the Delaware River illustrates a wide variety of these ancient engravings.

Earthwalk Explorer is the first phase of National Scenic Visitors Centers ambitious three-phase plan. Next, the NSVC will build Earthwalk Traveler, a 60 ft. long walkable map of the entire United States which will tour major museums nationwide. Finally, the National Scenic Visitors Center will be built to house Earthwalk USA, a 100-yard-long walkable map of the entire country.

Earthwalk Explorer FAQ

  • Who made the Earthwalk Explorer Map? The map was created by and for the National Scenic Visitor Center. The topography data was developed using ArcGIS. It was fabricated by Northampton County Community College Fab Lab.
  • How big is the Earthwalk Explorer Map? It is 8 feet x 16 feet (128 square feet), and it weighs 560 pounds.
  • What region does The Earthwalk Explorer Map showcase? The Eastern region of the United States from North Carolina to New Hampshire.
  • How many miles does the Earthwalk Explorer map cover? The map covers 761 miles.
  • What is the horizontal scale of the Earthwalk Explorer Map? The scale of the map is 1 inch = 3.88 miles.  
  • What is the vertical scale of the Earthwalk Explorer map? The vertical scale of the map is exaggerated by a factor of 3. A person who is 5 feet tall is seeing the map as if they were about 230 miles above the earth’s surface. 
  • How is the map oriented? The map is oriented 36 degrees clockwise from true north.
  • Why is the Earthwalk Explorer map re-oriented? This allows the map to maximize the amount of land shown within its given dimensions. It also helps the visitor to see the landscape in a new way without the traditional shape and borders.
  • What is the Earthwalk Explorer map made of? The map is cast in polyurethane rubber.
  • What is a Geoshow? Geoshows are dynamic stories projected on the physical relief map surface, revealing how the land was formed, who has lived there, and how time and humankind have shaped its future.  
  • How are the Geoshows created? Graphics and animations are generated using GIS map layers to visualize a script and storyline. Audio, including narration, sound backgrounds, and music, is synched with the visuals to create an immersive experience.
  • Are there other Geoshow Themes? The beauty of Earthwalk Explorer is that it can show an infinite number of Geoshows on a wide range of topics. 
  • Are the Geoshows available in multiple languages? Currently they are not, but developing multilingual offerings is in the long-term plan.
  • What is the Explore Mode? The Explore Mode uses the same system to present an explorative experience where visitors can freely walk across the map to discover graphically indicated landforms, roadways, trails, public lands, and natural and civic boundaries. Visitors enjoy new realizations about the relative size, location and relationships of places on the map.