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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

OmniGlobe brings complex data down to Earth

Photo by Tanner Garza
The OmniGlobe can project a line connecting every Facebook friendship that exists and can also model the surface of planets.
Photo by Tanner Garza The OmniGlobe can project a line connecting every Facebook friendship that exists and can also model the surface of planets.  

For the past several weeks, the MSC has hosted an exhibit that can show visitors anything from the carbon footprint of different locations on Earth, to a line connecting every Facebook friendship that exists, to the surface of every planet in our solar system.
The OmniGlobe exhibit projects images over a large spherical surface to model different data sets on a global scale. By putting the world in a user’s hands, exhibit organizers hope to spread a new world perspective to all who attend.
OmniGlobe’s time in Aggieland comes to an end Tuesday, but those responsible for bringing the project to campus are happy with the impact it has had.
“I think it gives visitors a new perspective and a new way of viewing problems faced in the world,” said Bill Fox, assistant professor in the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extention. “To be able to see it displayed three-dimensionally and to put it into a global perspective and then to get that message out at A&M is a great opportunity for the university.”
Fox said the efforts to host the exhibit on campus stemmed from a relationship between the Texas A&M Health Science Center and organizers of the Earth Day Texas event held annually in Dallas, particularly Clay Hanks and the Earth Day Texas founder Trammell Crow. AgriLife added its research to OmniGlobe’s display capabilities during its time in College Station.
“This is an opportunity for our message to go out through a third party, through Earth Day Texas, and to continue to build the understanding of the public of the efforts that are going on here at the University in addressing these challenges,” Fox said.
June Wolfe, AgriLife research scientist, said most of AgriLife’s research focuses on water and how to improve access to water in other parts of the world.
“We’re wanting to promote and publicize our water programs and the research associated with water that the Health Science Center and AgriLife Research are working on,” Wolfe said. “[Trammell Crow] loaned the globe so we can develop tools and methods to publicize the importance of water resources in Texas.”
Wolfe hopes that OmniGlobe will publicize AgriLife’s water research as it tours across Texas after its stop at Texas A&M, where it picked up additional components and content.
“The OmniGlobe itself is a publicity tool. Its a very interesting media source that’s getting ready to tour Texas elementary, junior and high schools for the next year, so it’s a great learning tool as well,” Wolfe said.
While OmniGlobe can project anything programmed into it, A&M researchers were charged with providing additional content related to their research. The new data will be displayed throughout OmniGlobe’s school tour.
“We were at Earth Day Texas back in April, and we were in the booth next to the group that had [the OmniGlobe],” said Charlie Lindahl, Health Science Center senior systems analyst. “They said, ‘Hey, we’re going on a tour of Texas. Would A&M like to be the first stop? And would you like to do something to generate some content on it so when it goes across the state, it’ll be in there? So that’s what we’re doing.”
OmniGlobe will move on to its next destination after Tuesday to teach lessons from a whole new perspective.
“One thing that I think is very important is the ability to see some of these things that we’re always talking about, whether that’s carbon or phosphate, or erosion, or water or other issues in a situation where you could actually see them from a global perspective,” Fox said.
The OmniGlobe is in MSC 1408 and will be on display for the last time at Texas A&M between 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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