Planetarium software update | Cleveland Natural History Museum

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A Cleveland Museum of Natural History researcher’s vision to expand the role of planetariums leads to the development of new software


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Cleveland Museum of Natural History Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, Dr Nicole Gunter, has brought her vision to display planetarium domes biodiversity data to life with the global release of a new planetarium software plug-in. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Gunter has partnered with Evans & Sutherland (E&S), a Cosm company, to develop the software update, which allows planetariums for the first time at immerse the guests in the wonders of life on earth as good as the confines of the Universe.

the release from plug-in marks a milestone in the achievement of Dr. Gunter’s NSF CAREER grantfunded project, which goals at further important discourse on the processes that shape our world and the critical role of conservation and biodiversity.

“While the primary objective planetariums This is astronomical data, I knew there was no reason why planetariums could not also be used for teaching biological and earth sciences, ”said Dr Gunter. “Not only can places like the Museum draw on their own biodiversity records to tell the story of life on Earth, but they can also tap into the 1.6 billion records made possible by global initiatives, including including the 2013 NSF call for a united, national digitization effort. ”

With the addition plug-in toes’s Digistar planetarium software makes it easy to see trends in biodiversity, such as the geographic distribution of threatened or invasive species over time, and patterns, such as mthe seasonal migration path of the onarch butterfly, on the big screen. This attractive and easy-to-understand data visualization, associated to interactive presentations by scientific experts, can shed light on the need for conservation efforts and inspire planetarium visitors to lead the charge.

“Dr. Gunter’s work reinforces the Museum’s long legacy of inspiring our community with

the wonders of science and nature, ”says Sonia Winner, president and CEO of the museum. “Educational programs that result of this software development will serve as high-level examples of the Museumof keep his promise to Intercombine our research with public education. “

The plug-in developed by E&S provides a tool to convert publicly available specimen records into a screenable format sure the dome via E&S Digistar software, which powers planetariums at more … than 160 sites around the world.

“Dr. Gunter’s vision to integrate biodiversity data into Digistar and display it in real life time spent on an 8k resolution dome was an exciting and compelling new use case, and it provides an opportunity to expand Digistar capabilities to a new audience, ”said Jason Taylor, Product Manager at E&S. “Being able to display data on biodiversity – which can be a very touching subject – in a the visual manner is so impactful. ”

Planetarium educators can now use the new tools to capitalize on 1.6 billion specimen records and create personalized programs on biodiversity. Biodiversity data from global aggregators can be filtered using 130 fields – such as month and year of specimen collection, specimen collector and corresponding institution, as well as species and family specimens – which fit the projected map. oin the dome of the planetarium.

The plug-in can collect biodiversity data directly from the aggregator application supported by NSF.iDigBio). Educators at IEstablishments using this new software in their planetariums will be able to instantly access the iDigBio one-click portal data, allowing them to engage in dynamic data mining or answer questions from the audience.

“As scientists, we often focus on sharing our research in publications or at conferences,” says Dr Gunter.. “By using these tools, I believe we can have a greater impact by communicating our results to a wider audience. I want to create a sense of wonder that there is still so much to learn about our planet and to inspire the next generation of scientists. “

A key element of the NSF Project is breaking down traditional barriers between scientists, educators and the general public. With planetariums generally reserved for astronomers, it took a lot of collaboration to realize the full potential of this effort. Dr Gunter will continue this grant-funded project over the next several years, conducting field research in Australia, delving into the museum’s collections, and ultimately creating an educational program that ties it all together.

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For media inquiries:
Samantha Guenther, [email protected], 216.403.4557

This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant # 1942193. All opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

About the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has inspired a passion for science and nature in its visitors for over 100 years. It ranks among the top 10 natural history museums in the United States in terms of endowment, collection size and attendance, and is recognized for its exhibits, collections, research and educational programs. Its collections encompass millions of artifacts and specimens, and globally significant research focuses on 11 disciplines of the natural sciences. The museum preserves biological diversity by protecting over 11,000 acres of natural spaces. It promotes science and health education through local and distance learning programs that extend across the world.



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