SOS Explorer Lite Help Guide


SOS Explorer Lite™ uses the NOAA-developed Terraviz™ visualization engine to create an interactive Earth for a flat screen display including those projected on walls, computers, and large displays, providing teachers, students, and the public access to a library of selected Science On a Sphere® datasets and movies. The visualizations show information provided by satellites, ground observations and computer models and rapidly animate through global data. In addition, tools included in the application allow users to zoom into, probe, and graph the data, as well as add supplementary material including websites, videos, pictures, and placemarks. In order to make the product more accessible for teachers, lesson plans and pre-programmed tours through standards-relevant topics are provided here.


SOS Explorer Lite™ was developed by the Exploratory Visualization and Outreach (EVO) section of NOAA’s Global Systems Division, which is also the home of Science On a Sphere (SOS, learn more at  Wanting to build off of the success of SOS and expand the reach of SOS into classrooms and homes, developers created a flat screen version of SOS called SOS Explorer Lite™ (SOSx) .  This introductory version of SOSx is freely available and allows users to explore a select group of SOS datasets and walk through three pre-programmed educational tours on a personal computer display or projector screen.

Controls and Interface


Tours are designed to walk you through how to present on a topic using SOS Explorer – they can include datasets, text, questions, pictures, audio, and webpages. Start a tour by selecting one of the icons in the lower left corner of the application.

Browse & Load Datasets

  1. Click the green flashing double arrow to open dataset browsing window.
  2. Datasets are in alphabetical order.
  3. Datasets without layers will load automatically when pressing them.
  4. Choose a layer if applicable (see example below) & Click "Load" to load layered datasets.
  5. Click "i" to find out more information from SOS website (with an internet connection).


 SOS Explorer Lite offers several tools to further explore its datasets.


Move mouse or touch on world to see data values (when applicable).

Click or touch then drag mouse to create a new transect.

Click or touch then drag to begin a polygon that calculates the average data value.


Choose circle, freehand or straight line, change color and line thickness if desired. Click done when finished. Double-click the line or icon to delete or add information to your drawing.

Double-click the line to delete or add information to your drawing.

Left click and move the mouse to generate a line segment.

Left click and hold while moving the mouse to create freehand drawings.

Left click and drag to create circles.

Click icons and drag symbols out onto the Earth.

Save your Placemarks & Drawings layer

Once you have added placemarks or drawings to the sphere you can click "Save" to save them to your computer and select "Load" to reopen them at anytime.


          Click or touch on the world move the mouse to a             new location and right click again to see the                     distance between the two points.


Please consider providing your feedback so we can improve your experience.


 Clicking this button will shut down SOS Explorer Lite.

More Information

More information can be found at /SOS_Explorer.