NOAA Science On a Sphere 4.1+ Release Notes

This page demonstrates new features, enhancements, and bug fixes for Science On a Sphere® 4.1+. For detailed information on using any aspect of Science On a Sphere®, please refer to the Manuals menu located on the Support tab of the SOS website.

Release Date
SOS 4.1.4 - Released December 3rd, 2013


Important Note: SOS version 4.1 may require configuration by the SOS team:

To enhance the security of the SOS software, as of the release of SOS version 4.1, we are removing our open SOS software repository from the SOS web site. All installed versions of SOS prior to 4.1 will continue to function as before. But to obtain future software releases, you may need to contact us to schedule a one-time configuration upgrade to use a more secure software repository. After that upgrade, SOS software updates will continue as before.

To determine if your site requires this configuration, open a terminal window on your SOS computer and type the command:

cat  /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sos-stable.list

This should print one line that includes a web address. If that address is /apt/repository please send an email to the SOS support team (sos.gsd@noaa.gov) to schedule the configuration change to receive SOS version 4.1 and future upgrades.


The release notes are divided into 3 sections:


Major New Features

  • KML
  • Ability to view KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files on SOS. KML is typically used with Google Earth-like applications.

    Read full release notes for KML

    View the new playlist keywords for KML

    Example KML Datasets:
    On your SOS computer, download the following KML examples (typically, files get downloaded to the Downloads folder) and move it to your /shared/sos/media/site-custom/ folder. For each KML file, right-click on the file and select "Extract Here" from the menu to extract the contents of the .tar.gz file. A folder called kml_example1 and a folder called kml_example2 should appear in your site-custom folder that contain each of the KML example datasets. You can then use the iPad SOS Remote app to load a dataset onto the sphere by selecting the Datasets tab > Library button > site-custom category and selecting the KML dataset of interest.

  • WMS
  • Experimental capability to specify and load images directly from an Open GeoSpatial Consortium (OGC) Web Mapping Service (WMS).

    Read full release notes for WMS

    Example WMS Dataset:
    On your SOS computer, download the following WMS example (typically, files get downloaded to the Downloads folder) and move it to your /shared/sos/media/site-custom/ folder. Right-click on the file and select “Extract Here” from the menu to extract the contents of the .tar.gz file. A folder called wms_example should appear in your site-custom folder that contains the WMS example dataset. You can then use the iPad SOS Remote app to load a dataset onto the sphere by selecting the Datasets tab > Library button > site-custom category and selecting the WMS dataset.


Minor New Features


Bug Fixes

The following bugs, mostly minor, have been fixed since the last major release of SOS 4.0.

  • Fixed a bug where layers with different-sized animating data can crash sos.
  • Fixed a bug where alignment data wasn’t being saved after switching from user sosdemo to user sos. (Note: You still need to align as user sos.)
  • Added more specific error dialog boxes for two common startup issues. These replace the less useful "We've lost our connection to the server":
    1. If the X Server isn't running, an "X Server Unavailable" alert.
    2. If we can't ssh to the display host, an "SSH Configuration Error" alert.
  • Fixed dependencies to allow sos installation to work with more recent kernels and Ubuntu installation disks after 12.04.1.
  • Fixes for changes in java 1.6 JRE that broke the Wii controller and as a result crashed sos at startup.
  • Added a PIP message informing the user that alignment can't be saved,
  • whenever the alignment files can't be written, which is almost always when running as sosdemo instead of as sos.
  • Fixed a rare case where unusual environment variables broke SOS.
  • Fixed a bug where turning off PIP layers hid the annotation icons.
  • Fixed a bug where the “annotation drawing” automation command always returned an error status.
  • Fixed a bug where “Missing PIP” would flash on the sphere when an annotation icon was dropped.
  • Fixed a bug where the “Saved alignment” message wasn’t appearing in Red Ball mode.
  • Fixed a bug where the “pip filename” automation command displayed garbage if filename missing.
  • Fixed a bug where the PIP aspect ratio was broken for large images.
  • Fixed a bug where the “quit” automation command was hanging SOS.