SOSx runs on a Windows computer and can be configured with up to two screens.
In a two-screen configuration, you typically have one large display, such as a
TV, connected via HDMI to the computer, and a smaller touchscreen, connected by
a video cable and a USB cable to the computer. (The actual cables needed to
connect a touchscreen can vary depending on the particular model of touchscreen
chosen.) The SOSx computer needs to be connected to the internet via an
ethernet cable. And you may connect an Oculus VR headset with the cable
provided by Oculus.
You may also optionally connect a wireless keyboard and mouse. This may be
useful for maintenance, or for guests to control SOSx if you’re not using a
Before running SOS Explorer®, the computer should be configured with the proper
display configuration. The application expects two monitors to be attached. The
main or primary screen should be the touch screen and the secondary screen
should be the larger TV. To access the display settings right click on the
desktop and choose Display settings.
Before installing the software, the computer needs to be configured with all
the hardware attached and the correct screen configuration. For example, if you’re
using a touch screen and a 4k television, make sure the proper resolutions are
set for each display. See the Setup Guide for instructions on this. You will
also need to be connected to the internet for the final steps of the
Plug the hard disk into one of the USB3 ports (they’re blue), if you’re
installing multiple copies of SOSx, you can use the same hard disk. If it
doesn’t automatically pop up (this behavior depends on configuration settings
of your computer), open your file browser and look for the drive named
Double-click the SOSx-setup.exe file to launch the
Next it will give you a prompt asking where to install the Dataset Directory.
If you have just one drive, accept the default C:\local-datasets
directory. If you have a secondary drive for storage, switch to that location
using the Browse… button. Then press
Once all of the requisite files have been installed on your computer, you’ll
see a prompt about completing the setup. You are given the options to view this
instruction manual or check for new data. Once you have selected what you want,
If you selected to view the documentation or check for new data, you will see
windows for those pop up
If you selected modify or review configuration the SOSx Configurator will
After filling in the information click on Send Profile.
You will need to be connected to the Internet for this step.
SOSx displays a screen similar to this if your registration information has
been submitted successfully.
You will receive an email at the address provided from email@example.com
saying the license request is being reviewed. Please allow up to 48 hours for
activation. You will receive another email when the license request has been
If you accept all the default names and file locations during the installation
process, there will be a SOS Explorer® icon on your Desktop that you can use to
launch the application. In the Start menu, there will
be a SOS Explorer folder that contains:
SOS Explorer® is difficult to quit when it’s set up as an exhibit because it is
designed to operate in an unattended exhibit environment where you would not
what visitors gaining access to the desktop or operating system. In a classroom
setting, the software can be modified through the config file (see Modifying
the Configuration) to include an exit button if you
prefer. In the exhibit setting, you should leave the keyboard and mouse hidden
during normal operation. If you need access to the Desktop or Windows
environment you should retrieve the keyboard and mouse and press Alt + F4.
There are over 140 datasets loaded onto your exhibit, including real-time
datasets that will automatically update every hour. However, if you would
prefer to restrict to a particular theme, for example, if your museum is an
aquarium and you want only Water and People datasets to appear in the SOSx
Search Window, you can do so. You will still be able to access all the
datasets from TourBuilder but they will not show up in the SOSx Search Window.
SOS Explorer® has many options for customizing your exhibit, from the number of
displays, to the timing of data syncs, to whether or not you want to show an
exit button (for use in classrooms, for example). In order to change the
configuration of your exhibit, we have created a “Configurator” program, which
edits a file called config.json for SOS Explorer®.
When you first launch SOSx, the Configurator will automatically open. Any other
time, open the SOSx Configurator program (Configurator.exe),
located in the same folder as SOSx, to change the primary settings for SOSx.
SOSx Configurator window
With Configurator, you can choose which “Hot Buttons” appear on the lower left
corner of SOSx, choose basemap / clouds options, link a kiosk tour (a tour that
automatically plays after no one has touched the screen for a specified time:
Kiosk Timeout Sec), various UI Features (for example, 2D/3D
Button on the lower right of the screen can be hidden), and various
display options (for example, enabling a second display monitor or an optional
VR Oculus Rift).
If you choose all the default options during the installation, you will find
the configuration file at: C:\Program Files\SOS
New datasets are continually being added to SOSx and real-time datasets are
being updated regularly. Defaults have been set for automatic data downloads,
but you have the ability to change them to meet your site’s needs. All dataset
downloads require the computer to have an internet connection.
If you want to manually update the datasets, you can do this by selecting
Sync Datasets in the SOS Explorer folder
found in the Windows Start menu under All
Most real-time datasets show new imagery either hourly or daily so that you can
display current events. They are synced every time the software is idle. The
time it takes for the software to be considered idle is defined by
kioskTimeoutSec in the config file, which by default is set to 7 minutes. Once
idle, the real-time datasets are synced by default every 30 minutes, as defined
by the refreshLocalDatasetsSec option in the config file. Other real-time
datasets (such as real-time earthquakes) attempt to download the latest data
each time the dataset is loaded and require an Internet connection.
If the Schedule syncing of datasets Tuesday at 9:00AM
checkbox was left checked during the setup process all other datasets are
updated every Tuesday at 9:00am through the Windows task scheduler. When the
data download is happening, it’s possible that you will see a decline in
performance for the SOSx software. If you plan on leaving the computer on all
the time, you can set this download to occur in the middle of the night to
avoid potential performance issues.
If your computer happens to be off at 9:00am on Tuesday, you can use the manual
sync described above to get any new datasets that you are missing.
The scheduled task can be modified by starting the Task
Scheduler found in the Start menu.
Windows Task Scheduler
Double-clicking on the SOSx Full Dataset Sync task
pulls up the properties.
SOSx Full Dataset Sync task
Click on Properties in the Actions bar on the right to
edit the task.
Properties for the SOSx Full Dataset Sync task
The Triggers tab will let you change the time and
frequency of the scheduled full dataset sync.
Follow the setup instructions included in both products and ensure the hardware
is operational. Next run the Configurator program, check the Use
VR box to enable VR, and click the Save
button to save configuration options. At this time HTC Vive is not supported.
When you run SOSx with VR enabled on a system where Rift has been installed,
you have the option of putting on the Rift headset to experience SOSx. With the
Rift on, you will see the Earth in the distance and you will also see a virtual
version of your hand. If you extend your index finger, you can touch buttons to
activate them. When first starting SOSx, you will see two buttons in the main
panel floating in front of the Earth: a Search button and a Navigate button.
You can touch a dataset button to open that dataset. Note that you will see the
dataset in your Rift and any user at the touch screen will also see the dataset
load. If you load a dataset that can be animated (e.g., a dataset with
multiple images, one for each time) then you’ll see a legend on the left, and
below the main panel you’ll see the Animation window. Press the buttons to
pause, rewind, advance frames, etc.
Panels visible when an animatable dataset is selected
If you load a tour with 360 degree content (bubbles) like the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary Tour, you’ll see a VR window that enables you to
choose which 360 degree “bubble” to fly into.
“Bubble” selector for a 360 degree tour
If you press the Christ of the Abyss button with your
finger, for example, you will fly into that 360 degree bubble and can look
around. Once inside the bubble, you can exit back out by touching the
Exit 360 Bubble button.
On occasion the SOS team will release updates to SOS Explorer®. If you are
connected to the Internet SOS Explorer® will check to see if there are updates
available and automatically patch the application. You can observe the progress
in the SOS Explorer Auto Patcher.