Recently the University of British Columbia unveiled The Decision Theatre, an interactive and immersive computer visualization lab for collaborative advancement of landscape planning. Special correspondent Matteo Luccio spoke with Stephen R.J. Sheppard, the project lead and professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Sheppard is also the author of Visualizing Climate Change: A Guide to Visual Communication of Climate Change and Developing Local Solutions, which was just published by Routledge at the end of March. In this interview, Luccio delves into the details about the Decision Theatre, including both the technology and the approach.
ML: When did you start working on this project? How long did it take you to set it up? When did it go live?
Sheppard: There’s two aspects, really: there’s the actual visualization work and then there’s the decision theater as a place to present that and engage people in it. We’ve been working on these kinds of engagement approaches, using geospatial and visualization tools, for more than a decade. We’ve been applying it to sustainability and particularly climate change for at least the last seven years. The official name of the decision theater is the BC Hydro Theater at the University of British Columbia. We officially launched it in November 2011.