SOS Remote App - 5.3 Release Notes


This document summarizes the changes and additions to the Science On a Sphere® (SOS) SOS Remote App for Apple iOS in the version 5.3.x releases.

For detailed information on the SOS Remote App features, please refer to the SOS Remote App Manual (or browse to:  Support > Manuals > SOS Remote App on the SOS website ). 

Release Dates

  • Version 5.3.0 - Feb. 5, 2018


  • The SOS Remote App 5.3 requires iOS 9.0 or later and SOS 5.3.  Most changes in Remote App 5.3 will work with SOS 5.2, with exceptions as noted.

Special Installation Notes

If you are running iOS 9.2 or later on your device, you may experience some app installation glitches. Following are two common problems and solutions we have found:

  • Go to the Apple Store app on your device and install the latest SOS Remote app, version 5.3.0.  When you open the app, the old version, version 5.1 or earlier, might appear (you will know it is an old version if you press the Folder button in the top left corner of the Presentation tab and do not see the new Reload Current button in the top right corner). If this happens, go to the Apple store again and click the Install or Update button again. You may have to do this a couple of times before the new version gets installed.

  • Once the new version is installed, if you go to the iPad Settings (gear icon on iPad's home screen) and click on SOS Remote app, the settings fields like Name or IP may not show up. If this is the case, delete the app from memory (by double tapping the iPad's home button and swiping away the SOS Remote app). Click on the SOS Remote app to re-open it. Now, go to the iPad Settings > SOS Remote app section again, and the SOS Remote app’s settings should appear.

New Features in 5.3.0

  • Spotlight Datasets.  Spotlight datasets are a handful of SOS datasets periodically selected by the NOAA SOS Team in Boulder to showcase datasets in the SOS Data Catalog that are: compelling and may be new to you, a current event, a historical event, a new SOS feature, the latest dataset, an updated dataset, etc.  This feature supports a succinct way for users to explore the SOS Data Catalog over time and provides quick access to datasets that highlight timely events.

    To show the Spotlight user interface (UI), tap on the Spotlight icon located in the top right-hand-side of the toolbar on either the Presentation tab or on the Data Catalog tab.  (The date next to the Spotlight icon represents the last time that the Spotlight datasets were updated.)  A UI will pop up with the first Spotlight dataset in the list.  The dots on the bottom of the UI indicate how many datasets there are, and which one you are currently on.  Swipe the page left or right to access the previous or next dataset.


  • Note that the new Spotlight features in the Remote App 5.3 should work with SOS 5.2 systems with a few caveats.  Temporary datasets (sometimes included as a Spotlight) will not be downloaded automatically, catalog database updates that include Spotlight dataset changes will be downloaded only weekly instead of daily, and the badge that indicates that the data catalog need an update ("!" symbol) may incorrectly be displayed after downloading a new catalog database even if its contents haven't changed.

Enhancements in 5.3.0

  • The options under the FILTERS menu on the Data Catalog tab weren't clear and have been improved to the following options:

    1. Movies with Audio (was Audio: Movies Only).  Used for narrated movies with audio.
    2. Movies with No Audio (new).  Used for narrated movies without audio.
    3. Audio Description Datasets (was Audio: Descriptions Only).  Used for non-narrated movies with audio (e.g., with music only or sound effects or a simple description of a dataset).
    4. Non-English Datasets (was Datasets: Non-English).  Used for movies with audio in a language other than English.
    5. High Res Datasets (4K sites) (was Datasets: High Resolution Only).  Used for datasets available in high resolution (i.e., with a frame width > 4096).  Note that sites using 4K projectors will have these higher resolution versions, while other SOS sites using 2K (HD) projectors will still have the regular resolution versions.

Bug Fixes in 5.3.0

  • If a site-custom dataset had both a regular playlist.sos and a variation playlist, each with the same name, only the variation dataset would be loaded onto the sphere, even if you selected the regular dataset.  The dataset and variation are now listed and accessed correctly.
  • The Major- and Subcategories in the Data Catalog tab were sometimes not getting refreshed after a data catalog update.  This happened when the newly downloaded catalog database had not been updated to add local site-custom data. 
  • The Remote App would crash if the Playlist Builder was selected when SOS was not running.
  • Thumbnails for some real-time datasets were not showing up in the Remote App, with the "?" thumbnail displayed instead.  These datasets now show the correct thumbnails.
  • Other minor fixes.

Known Bugs in 5.3.0

  • In the Display Elements list (the list that gets shown when you tap the circled number next to a loaded dataset), site-custom overlays are not grouped with the other 'Overlays' Display Elements under certain circumstances.  There are a few ways to ensure that a dataset attributed as an overlay in the site-custom directory appears in the 'Overlays' section of the Display Elements list:
    1. Use name and data in the dataset playlist to specify the custom overlay.
    2. Use name, layer, and layerdatain the dataset playlist, but make sure name and layer are exactly the same.
    3. Put the data file in a directory under site-custom named overlays.

  • Hidden layers flash on the sphere when dynamically added to another dataset using the Remote App.