Science On A Sphere Explorer (SOSx) - Museums and Schools

Date and Time: 
2017 September 14th @ 3pm
ML main seminar
Jeff Smith

SOSx is written in C# and built using the Unity game engine. While a game engine may seem a strange choice for data visualizations, it is a powerful platform for 3D visualization.  Video games are a multibillion-dollar industry, and are quite simply the most powerful tools for pushing millions of points of data to the user (via GPUs) in real-time. SOSx ingests “big data”, in efficient formats for real-time visualization, and displays and animates that data in ways that are understandable and impactful to the general public.

SOSx runs in a multi-display setup with a touch screen in museums and schools, and also includes virtual reality support via the Facebook/Oculus Rift. A tour builder application is included to enable teachers and museum staff to create their own tours of custom datasets and regions of the globe. SOSx visualizes satellites in orbit and environmental data at regional and global scales. It also includes interactive scenes (mini-games), such as walking on the moon, piloting a submarine around a coral reef, or surviving a tornado.

This talk with discuss communicating science with SOSx, data visualization using the Unity game engine, and also provide an overview of our software engineering.

NOAA / ESRL / Global Systems Division / Advanced Technology and Outreach (ATO)
Boulder, Colorado
SOSx Developers:
Eric Hackathorn -
Jonathan Joyce –
Jeff Smith –

Speaker Description: 

Jeff Smith is software engineer at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory. He has developed many user interfaces, for running weather models, localizing domains, searching/viewing environmental data sets, querying/benchmarking OGC web services for the FAA and NWS, and displaying global icosahedral data over 3D spinning globes.

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