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University of Missouri

Maps in Layers

Engineering a better map.

Alina Zare

Alina Zare works on next-generation mapping. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Alina Zare takes her ideas where she finds them. On her first trip to Columbia in 2010, she found a great idea while trying to navigate the town. It landed her a prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award.

I use Google Maps for everything. But even with that and directions, I still had to circle a plaza several times before finding a restaurant,” says Zare, assistant professor of engineering. “Google’s street view, satellite imagery and maps should be fused to highlight what you are looking for in all three. I got pretty excited about global scene understanding. You could map the world. It would be so cool.”

Zare’s idea to fuse different information types with varying levels of accuracy to create a global scene understanding won the National Science Foundation award, which provides $454,077 over five years.