First SOS System in Middle East

The Climate Institute, a Science On a Sphere® (SOS) distributor, has installed SOS at the Children’s City Museum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This is the first SOS to be installed in the Middle East and the 50th SOS installation outside of the United States. There are now 116 SOS installations scattered around the world in 21 different countries. The grand opening for this new SOS System will be sometime in March of this year.

The Science On a Sphere® program set up a network of distributors to help further broaden the educational reach of SOS. There are currently 12 distributors that are able to install SOS around the world through agreements with NOAA. The Climate Institute installed their first SOS as a distributor in 2010 and since then has installed a total of 16 SOS systems. This is their first installation outside of Mexico, where they set up a regional network of SOS sites in facilities designed specifically for SOS called Casa de la Tierra. They are working to establish a similar network of SOS sites throughout the Middle East, and the Children’s City Museum SOS installation is the first step towards that goal.

SOS is a large visualization system that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data onto the outside of a sphere. It was invented by current Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Director Dr. Sandy MacDonald in 1995 when he came up with the concept for SOS (in his garage using a beach ball painted white and a 35mm slide projector) as an outgrowth of other visualization projects that he was directing within the former Forecast Systems Laboratory. Since that time, SOS has become an important part of educational programs in 116 museums and science centers in 21 countries. The SOS Program is administratively managed and technically supported by ESRL's Global Systems Division (GSD)/Advanced Technology and Outreach Branch.

Audiences around the world express excitement when they first see the rare view of the planet that an SOS presentation provides. As visualized on SOS, the Earth isn't sliced and spread out like it is on a flat map and it doesn't have rods poking through the poles like a globe. SOS displays a high-resolution view of Earth and other spherical bodies in our solar system that replicate what can be seen or sensed from satellites or modeled by supercomputers.

Researchers at NOAA/ESRL continue to develop and advance SOS as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth system science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, illustrating complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating. Using an iPad app, SOS presenters are able to effortlessly display, annotate, zoom, and layer the more than 450 data sets that are available for SOS.

SOS is a NOAA/ESRL program that has developed a revolutionary system for educating the public on the holistic nature of Earth's ever-changing oceans, atmosphere, and land, and on other planets. NOAA's global science is presented on SOS in new and exciting ways by providing engaging three-dimensional representations of our planet and others as if the viewers were looking at them from outer space. Through informal educational programs in science centers, universities, and museums across the country and globally, NOAA's educational program goals are extended through SOS by increasing the public understanding of our environment, knowledge of the Earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere, and knowledge of the other bodies in our solar system.

Contact information
Name: John P Schneider
Tel: 303-497-4646