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11th Science On a Sphere® Users Collaborative Network summary

October 07, 2022


The 11th Science On a Sphere® (SOS) Users Collaborative Network Workshop was held virtually August 30 - September 1, 2022 with 159 people registered from almost 100 institutions and 8 countries. The workshop was part of the ongoing SOS partnership with NOAA Global Systems Laboratory, NOAA Office of Education, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). In its 15th year, the continued growth of the SOS network was evident, with 93 first-time attendees to the workshop. This year’s theme was “Projecting Leadership in Science Engagement.” Over the three days, there were 39 presentations from attendees and NOAA staff in the form of lightning talks, SOS showcases, panels, and breakout sessions. Keynote speakers included Dr. Stephen Volz, AA for NESDIS; Dr. Mark SubbaRao, lead of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio; and Dr. Nikita Soni, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois - Chicago.

Presentations at the workshop addressed a variety of projects within Science on a Sphere, from updating its software to improving the user interface. Presentations also highlighted specific real-world applications, such as tracking Breton, the great white shark, and the creation of the Pandemic and Air Quality live program.

The Pandemic and Air Quality live program investigates the relationships between a health emergency such as the pandemic, the societal response, and the implications for air quality. The workshop session examined the challenges faced in creating effective visualizations and the decision-making process for science communications in the context of air quality emergencies. These important analyses are available in an ESRI StoryMap, with an SOS Explorer mobile app version coming soon.

The workshop came just as the SOS team released more technologies and interfaces, including the updated iPad remote application. They also recently introduced data sets on ocean acidification and the 2022 Hunga Tonga-Huunga Ha’apai volcano eruption, as well as a 120-year dataset on earthquakes and Tsunamis.

Science on a Sphere strives to help us understand the world around us. The program develops data visualization technologies spanning from mobile apps to large exhibits that feature interdisciplinary Earth and space data, along with educational resources. The data visualization and educational tools give everyone the power to understand our interconnected world and inspire meaningful change.

The Pandemic and Air Quality program