26th Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology
Presidential Forum


Three dimensional spherical display systems for education and outreach

Richard A. Kohrs, SSEC/Univ. Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and M. Mooney

The Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) and Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin (UW) are now using a 3D spherical display system as an outreach tool to demonstrate how satellites are used by scientists and weather forecasters. Our outreach program describes the orbits and data coverage of geostationary and polar satellites and details how each is beneficial for the remote sensing of Earth. Global composites of visible, infrared and water vapor images show how satellite instruments collect data from different channels of the electromagnetic spectrum to monitor global weather patterns 24 hours a day. The spherical display system has proven to be more captivating and intuitive than traditional 2D display systems by enabling presenters to simultaneously show satellite orbits and weather patterns over both polar and equatorial regions of the Earth.

Visit Booth 626 to preview animations on our 3D display.

SSEC utilizes the Man computer Data Access System (McIDAS)-X and McIDAS-V software packages to composite real-time global satellite data and create other weather related derived products. Client and server techniques used by these software packages provide the opportunity to continually update the real-time content on our globe. Audiences of all ages instinctively relate to recent weather conditions which keeps them engaged with the presentation. Outreach specialists can also use the interactive capabilities of McIDAS-X and McIDAS-V to quickly create customized global weather graphics.

An important goal of our outreach program is the promotion of remote sensing research and technology at SSEC and CIMSS. The 3D spherical display system has quickly become a popular tool to convey societal benefits of these endeavors along with advantages of our on-going collaborations with NOAA and NASA. By working directly with in-house scientists, computer programmers routinely update 3D graphical displays for use in outreach programs, educational lectures and short-term museum exhibits at the Madison Children's Museum and the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Recorded presentation

Joint Session 6, Virtual Globe technology and applications Part I
Thursday, 21 January 2010, 8:30 AM-9:45 AM, B218

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