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Sonia Talwar

Extending over space and through time: representations of the Georgia Basin

Sonia Talwar
University of British Columbia

Pathways leading to sustainable communities are diverse and puzzling. In an effort to engage in a dialogue about regional sustainability, a suite of tools has been developed to assist a broad constituency of participants to engage in this discussion both spatially and temporally. These include an interactive software tool, QUEST(TM), to develop and explore desirable futures for the Georgia Basin; an interactive web-based knowledge environment application, GBExplorer, to explore concepts and perspectives about sustainability, browse and create local and expert knowledge represented through maps, narrative, images, audio, video; and action-based resources to assist interested groups to mobilize and determine actions that might contribute to their desired future.

This presentation will review prior digital library applications and identify the strengths of merging digital library technologies, spatial information technologies and participatory processes to create an application, GBExplorer. GBExplorer represents an integrated approach to creating and sharing local and expert knowledge useful to communities. In addition, an overview of the three-tier system architecture will be presented. Technical challenges in building necessary functionality in support of community priorities will be addressed. A tenet of GBExplorer is to connect people with ideas and ideas with place.


Sonia Talwar is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia with a background in geographical information systems and environmental studies. Her thesis draws a connection between interactive science and technology, GIS, digital libraries, and public participation. Sonia works as a GIS specialist/information manager with the Geological Survey of Canada in Vancouver. She holds a particular profound respect for libraries and the work that takes place within them; an early exposure has lead to a fruitful curiosity about information and how it is managed and shared.

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