The Science On a Sphere Users Collaborative Network (SOS Network) is composed of institutions who use Science On a Sphere® in an educational setting. It serves as a forum for sharing information on the creation of new content, technical improvements, and evaluations.

A presenter speaking to a group of people, gestoring towards a 6 foot sphere explaining earth science data.
A presenter demonstrates engaging docent techniques during the 2012 SOS Workshop at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.

About Science On a Sphere

Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is a spherical display system approximately 6 feet in diameter that is used to show images and animations of Earth system dynamics. NOAA supports the use of spherical display systems like SOS in public exhibits as part of a focused effort to increase environmental literacy.

Many institutions offer docent-led programming to help visitors interpret content. Another popular option is auto-play mode, where datasets and accompanying audio tracks are delivered as a pre-programmed playlist. Some sites also allow visitors to interact directly with the Sphere via touchscreen kiosks. SphereCasts allow presentations given at one SOS site to be viewed remotely at other SOS locations in real time.

An infographic showing NOAA's logo plus an image of a Science Center followed by an arrow pointing to the Audience
The ideal partnership between NOAA and Service Centers to reach and serve the Audience (NOAA)

NOAA's Areas of Expertise:                                    

• Data Collection                                                              

• Scientific Expertise                                                          

• Cutting-edge Research                   

• Funding and Support                        

Science Center's Areas of Expertise:

• Audience-appropriate Presentations 

• Feedback Collection from Audience 

• Localized Relevance to Global Phenomena

• Forum for Discussion

The Audience:

• An estimated 33 million people see SOS every year

SOS Network

The institutions that currently display SOS, as well as other partners who are creating content and educational programming for these systems have formed the SOS Network. Supported by NOAA’s Office of Education, the network has worked to establish guidelines for creating effective content for spherical display systems. The network has also been heavily focused on evaluating the effectiveness of content delivery via the SOS system.

The SOS network works to maximize the effectiveness of the Science On a Sphere as an Earth system science education platform. In addition to email distribution lists and online discussion forums, the SOS network also meets in-person approximately every 18 months to share ideas.

More information

If you have any questions about the network, email sos.workshop@noaa.gov.