Introduction to Tour Builder

Configuring Tour Builder

Tours are scripted presentations (similar in concept to power point presentations) that run on SOSx and take a user through the datasets and can include a storyline. Tours often include text, images, guiding questions, pop-up web content, videos, and click-able place marks, audio, pausing for user input, etc.

To configure Tour Builder, access this from the File Menu:


Choose a local datasets directory (the location where your sosx datasets reside). Click the browse button to pop up a window that enables you to navigate to the directory containing your datasets.

Most users should set the tour audience to “SOSx”. 


SOSx datasets appear in the search window on the left side of SOSx. A dataset can be a series of images wrapped around the globe, a KML file, a satellite orbiting the Earth, etc. Users can choose a dataset category and select a dataset to load. Datasets have a category, a thumbnail, and a title:


Dataset Editor

Tour Builder enables you to create your own datasets. From the Tools Menu, you can create a new dataset or open/edit an existing one. Here’s the aurora dataset open in the Dataset Editor:

If the dataset is a series of images, set the start time and end time to match your image files. For example, this aurora dataset runs from Sept 30, 2012 at noon until October 1, 2012 at 11:35 am:

The image format should be “image/dds”. If your images are not already in dds format, go to the Tools Menu / DDS Converter to convert your .png or .jpg images into .dds format.

For detailed information about creating a dataset, see the tutorial video entitle “Tour Builder: Introduction to Dataset Editor” on the Manuals and Tutorials page.

Create New Tour

A tour is a list of “tasks” to perform, in sequence. For example, a tour might turn off clouds, turn on world borders, load an aurora dataset, then display a text box with information about auroras. That could be a complete, but simple, tour.

To create a new tour in Tour Builder, go to the File Menu, New Tour. You will be prompted for the directory for your new tour. Tour Builder will default to the <local-datasets>/custom directory. Click the “Create Directory” button to create a directory for your new tour.


Next, you will be prompted to provide other information (metadata) about your tour:


You must provide a category and a title. Other fields are optional but recommended. You can return to this window later on by selecting File Menu > Edit Tour Details. 

Once your tour is created, you can drag tasks from the top horizontal bar onto the “main tour timeline”. For example, here I am dragging the Pause For Input task onto the timeline.


A complete list of the tasks and an explanation of each can be found on the Tour Task Reference Guide.

Once tasks are on the timeline, you can drag them around to reorder them. To delete a task from the timeline, click the little trash can icon.

You can organize a big tour into smaller “sub tours”. For example, perhaps you have 5 tour tasks that you always want at the start of any tour you create. You could create this 5 task tour in Tour Builder, save it, and then whenever you create a new tour, just include this 5 task tour with a single “Load Tour (ReadOnly)” task:


Some tasks, such as Text Box, require you to provide additional information below. Just fill out the pertinent information. For example, to show a text box with the caption “My new tour!”, enter the following:


Play Your Tour in SOSx

To play your tour in SOSx, go to File > Play From Start or File >Play From Task #. You would choose the later option, for example, if your tour has 100 tasks and you want to test tasks starting at task 80 and beyond (without having to go through all 100 tasks in SOSx.

You’ll see a window reminding you to launch SOSx:


When you click the Close button (and if SOSx is running on your computer), your tour will immediately run. This is a helpful feature when you are working on a tour and want to test your progress.

Additional Information

Select “Manual and Tutorials” from the Help Menu for additional information about running Tour Builder: