View NEO Imagery on a Sphere

There are several companies and organizations that provide spherical projector technology, but the first one I had ever heard of was Science on a Sphere (SOS) created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Originally envisioned in 1995 by Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacDonald and later patented in 2005, these Science on a Spheres (and other variations) are in hundreds of locations across the United States and abroad to help increase understanding of Earth’s complex processes.

Image showing Dr. James Garvin (on right), giving a presentation on "Science On a Sphere" to Yuri's Night guests.
Dr. James Garvin (on right), gives a presentation on “Science On a Sphere” to Yuri’s Night guests. Credit: NASA

In support of these visualization systems, NEO provides an archive of time-lapse global imagery to display in spherical projections located in the NEO SOS Archive. NEO uses the Content Creation Guidelines by NOAA to provide a time series in the preferred projection, image format, and resolution. There is also a labels.txt file available with each dataset to label the images with the correct acquisition, a color bar file to provide context to each time series, and a PIP text file (.SOS) that points to the labels and color bar file along with extra features like fade in time and frame rate. Please see the SOS Remote App manual to learn how to display NEO’s time-series datasets on your display system using the SOS Remote App.

Example directory with supporting files to display time series of Active Fires dataset on the Science on a Sphere.

This service started based on requests and only has part of the NEO archive available. If you see a dataset that is not in the archive on our site and you would like it for your spherical visualization, please send us an email using the Contact Us link below.

Here is a preview of some of the datasets we currently have available in the SOS Archive:

Active Fires from Terra/ MODIS

Image showing Active Fires for September 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Active Fires for September 2020 on a spherical projection.

Aerosol Optical Thickness (Depth) from Terra/ MODIS

Image showing Aerosol Optical Thickness for October 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Aerosol Optical Thickness for October 2020 on a spherical projection.

Chlorophyll Concentration from Aqua/ MODIS

Image showing Chlorophyll Concentration for October 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Chlorophyll Concentration for October 2020 on a spherical projection.

Land Surface Temperature Anomaly (Day) from MODIS

Image showing the Land Surface Temperature Anomaly during the day for October 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing the Land Surface Temperature Anomaly during the day for October 2020 on a spherical projection.

Net Radiation from CERES

Image showing Net Radiation for July 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Net Radiation for July 2020 on a spherical projection.

Outgoing Longwave Radiation from CERES

Image showing Outgoing Longwave Radiation for July 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Outgoing Longwave Radiation for July 2020 on a spherical projection.

Rainfall from TRMM

Image showing Rainfall from TRMM for August 2016 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Rainfall from TRMM for August 2016 on a spherical projection.

Reflected Shortwave Radiation from CERES

Image showing Reflected Shortwave Radiation for July 2020 on a spherical projection.

Sea Ice Concentration from SSM/I / DMSP

Image showing Sea Ice Concentration and Snow Extent for November 18, 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Sea Ice Concentration and Snow Extent for November 18, 2020 on a spherical projection.

Sea Surface Temperature from Aqua/ MODIS

Image showing Sea Surface Temperature for August 2020 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Sea Surface Temperature for August 2020 on a spherical projection.

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly from AQUA/AMSR-E

Image showing Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly for September 2011 on a spherical projection.
Image showing Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly for September 2011 on a spherical projection.

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