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 touchscreen.
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 installation
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 SOSx_Install
Double-click the SOSx-setup.exe file to launch the installation.
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 Next.
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, click Finish.
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 appear
After filling in the information click on Send Profile. You will need to be connected to the Internet for this step.
You will receive an email at the address provided from [email protected] 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 approved.
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.
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 Explorer\SOSx_Data\config\config.json
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 Programs.
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.
Double-clicking on the SOSx Full Dataset Sync task pulls up the properties.
Click on Properties in the Actions bar on the right to edit the 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.
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.
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.