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Located in EnGeo 2207, Science On a Sphere (SOS) is a visualization system that uses networked projectors to display still and animated datasets onto the outside of a large suspended sphere. This upgraded system with expanded capability was moved to EnGeo 2207 (room capacity 36) from Memorial Hall in Summer 2021 and is now conveniently located near the Geospatial Suite for coordinated use. While SOS is often employed at JMU for science education, it is a spherical display system that is applicable to any discipline. Students and faculty from the Departments of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication; Art and Art History; and Education have completed projects with SOS. There are examples of original content creation in many disciplines. The ISNW is piloting a guide for students and faculty to create their own maps, and Dr. Kristen St. John created a video for faculty describing teaching with SOS. 

JMU was the first university to install SOS and is one of a few institutions to incorporate SOS as a pedagogical tool in university courses. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed SOS to increase the public’s understanding of Earth as a system and the role of humans in the ecosystem. SOS is one part of NOAA’s multi-faceted education program that brings the research NOAA conducts and the data that drives resource management decisions to students, teachers, and learners of all ages. With over 125 installations, Science On a Sphere enhances informal educational programs in science centers, museums, and universities internationally. JMU actively participates with NOAA's SOS Users Collaborative Network to maximize the effectiveness of the tool as an Earth system science education platform.  


A brief training is available for faculty and staff interested in using SOS for official business: teaching, service, and/or scholarship, including student projects. Faculty and staff SOS users reserve the space in advance and self-host their classes or groups. Faculty and staff interested in completing the brief training can email



Occasionally, JMU will hold public activities for families, alumni, and/or prospective students. Please check back here for event announcements.


We will not be hosting K-12 visitors at this time due to the pandemic.

For teachers seeking a science related activity that middle and high school students can complete from home or school, we invite you to consider one of the following options:

  1. NASA’s Digital GLOBE Earth System Poster activities
  2. NOAA Data in the Classroom activities


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