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Department of Meteorology – University of Reading

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The Globe display in the Library

The Meteorology department owns a projection sphere (“the globe”), which is usually on display in the library, unless it is out travelling.

Departmental staff and students are welcome to use the globe to display their own movies of suitable data sets.

If the globe is on, feel free to change/upload a movie.

Instructions on how to create a suitable movie for the globe display:

Making a movie for the globe is quite straightforward, there are just a few ground rules:

  • Use a continuous dataset that spans the whole planet, otherwise you’ll end up with a visible “seam”.
  • Create a series of images with your favourite plotting tool. Remember to use fixed contour lines and a consistent colour map. The final figures should have an aspect ratio of 1400×700 pixels without borders. They need to be in cylindrical projection with no external annotation (no labelling, titles, colour bars, etc.). A basic matlab recipe for a simple movie can be found here. (A python recipe will be available soon.)
  • Ideally indicate the time of each frame on the image itself – for many movies a timestamp over the Pacific (or over land for an ocean movie) will be most visible.
  • The final movie should be in mp4 format. You can use ImageMagick on the met-cluster to convert your images. Here’s a simple example:
    convert -loop 0 -size 1400x700 -delay 10 pngfiles/*.png movie.mp4
  • Note that the above command works for images without borders. If you’ve created images that need to be cropped you’ll have to adjust the convert command accordingly by adding “-crop” and specifying dimensions unique to your set of images.
  • It’s a good idea to name your movie something obvious related to its content so that future viewers of your movie know what it’s about!

Instructions on how to interact with the globe:

When the globe is switched on and a movie is playing you can explore it by gently sliding your finger across it to change the rotation.

If you want to change the movie that is currently playing or upload your own, you’ll need a password for the pufferfish network and the globe’s browser interface. You can get these from Martin Airey.

This is how it works:

  • When you’re in the library, you can use any device with wifi capabilities (laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.) to connect to the pufferfish network (PFN-1025).
  • Open your web browser and type into the address bar, which connects you to the globe’s interface called Puffer Console. You can upload a movie from your device by clicking on “Choose File” in the “Upload asset files” field, selecting your movie file and then clicking “Upload”.
  • Click on the PufferWarp link near the top right to open the movie library. You can then select your uploaded movie from the list (or any other movie you wish to play). Refresh the page if your uploaded movie isn’t showing yet. Once selected, your movie should start displaying on the globe.
  • You can adjust the rotation by dragging your finger/mouse pointer across the “Rotation” area below the movie list. Click “Reset rotation” if you want to revert back to the default.
  • Unfortunately there are no playlist options available in the pufferfish software at the moment so the selected movie will keep playing until a new one is chosen.

Please contact us if:

  • You require the globe display for a specific event, either within the department or away. In this case, please check the availability in the globe calendar here. Information on how to book is here. If this is the first time you wish to take the globe offsite, please contact Martin Airey in the first instance, as dismantling and transporting the globe is not straightforward you require some training to do it.
  • Please contact Martin Airey or Maria Broadbridge if:
    • you require assistance in creating and/or uploading a movie
    • the above instructions don’t seem to work
    • you notice that something appears to be wrong with the globe

Acceptable use policy:

  • Please don’t delete any movies from the globe interface unless you created them yourself.
  • Please don’t switch the globe off at the mains.
  • Please don’t change the timer settings without notifying Martin or Maria first.

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