Q: How is the OmniGlobe better or different than digital globes from other companies?
A: They are brighter, sharper, and higher contrast due to our proprietary technology which is described and compared under System Details-Technology. We are also the only company which makes our own spherical screens, and we have been doing it since 2002.
Q: What is the advantage of the new Laser projectors?
A: No lamps to change every several months! They are also brighter and sharper. Since the fall of 2018, all OmniGlobes use Canon Laser powered projectors rather than lamps. The Lasers (more correctly Laser-Phosphor) systems have a rated life time of 20,000 hours (almost 10 years at 40 hours/week). There are two lower brightness modes that substantially increase the life, and in many installations the lower brightness will be adequate.
Q: Is it OK for people to touch the screen?
A: Yes, but we don’t recommend encouraging it. The screen consists of a soft vinyl rear projection film bonded to an acrylic shell. The vinyl has a matte finish that does not readily show finger marks, but it can be scratched and gouged. Cleaning should be infrequent, but when required any non-aggressive cleaning solution (slightly soapy warm water, water/alcohol, etc.) can be used with a cloth or soft paper towel, etc.
Q: How fragile is the screen?
A: Not very. Structurally, the screen is an acrylic spherical shell. It isn’t easily broken, but contact with objects that might deliver a sharp blow or gouge the vinyl should be avoided. Damage to the vinyl cannot be repaired, so depending on the environment it is to be installed in, it may be advisable to install a railing system around the OmniGlobe.
Q: How dark does the viewing ambient need to be?
A: It doesn’t need to be dark. Typical room and office lighting is fine. The 32″, and particularly the dual 48″ globe, holds up best under relatively bright conditions, and the dual 60″ globe also does very well. There is extra “pop” for any of the globes with somewhat subdued lighting. The screen has a low reflection matte surface, but bright lights will reduce the image contrast.
Q: What is the best viewing distance?
A: Just as in a movie theater, the best seats are not in the front row. The higher the screen pixels per inch, the closer a satisfying viewing distance. The 48″ has the closest pixel spacing, and the 60″ the least. 1-2 screen diameters distance is a good rule of thumb for close viewing.
Q: Can we create our own content?
A: Yes, as discussed on our Creating Content page, content can be as simple as a 2:1 rectangular global image (we prefer 3000×1500 pixel PNGs for the input format). See the Software page. Most of the content that we provide comes from the NOAA SOS portal and from NASA.
Q: What is the difference between a movie and an animation?
A: A movie is a “canned” production, running from the start to the finish. The only interactive control is to pause or stop the movie. Animations for us means interactive. In addition to pausing and stopping, the animation can run forward or backward, jump ahead or back, and the globe image can be rotated and tilted, all by the viewer using the touch screen interface.
Q: Can we have multiple movies or images on our OmniGlobe?
A: Yes. And they can be set up to be selected by visitors or staff. Visitor selection is typically accommodated using a touch screen monitor. Movies can also continuously loop.
Q: Can movies have audio?
A: Yes. Audio is easily added to movies and animations. But audio can only be synchronized with movies.
Q: What hardware do the movies and images play from?
A: A PC configured for good video performance. The software, images and movies will reside on the hard disk or solid state drive. The PC generally resides in the kiosk or some other location close by.
Q: Your literature speaks of “4k equivalent” resolution. What does this mean?
A: Our dual projector systems use two WUX projectors (1920×1200 pixels). Together they provide enough pixels to project essentially all the detail of a full 4k (4096×2048 pixel) 2D map image. By way of illustration, the equator of a 4k flat map image is 4096 pixels across. The equator on the Dual Omniglobe is very nearly the same number of pixels around, over 4000.
Q: What are ARC’s warranty and service policies?
A: The projector and computer are standard products covered by their respective manufacturer’s warranties, generally 2-3 years parts and labor. ARC warrants the rest of the system, which is principally the screen and optics, for two years for problems or failures due to workmanship or materials, and which are not intentional or inadvertent damaging acts at the exhibit site.
Q: Is a technical support contract available?
A: We have not found it necessary. Regular maintenance consists of lamp and air filter changes, which are straight forward. OmniGlobes are as reliable as their projector and computer equipment. We will do training at the time of installation, and we are generous with our phone support on the occasions it might be needed.
Q: What is the delivery time from order placement?
A: The OmniGlobe system can generally be delivered 8-12 weeks after the initial down payment.