Changes coming to Canadian Maps from Waze

I was quite excited to receive this email from Waze yesterday. Waze has been one of my favorite mobile apps of late. My major complaint was of course that there were very no Canadian maps available. With new Canadian maps, this could very well be a killer navigation tool while still providing real time information that you’d have to pay for from other providers like Tom Tom for instance.

Hello Canadian mappers,
Some great news – we have acquired a base map for all of Canada (thank you Canadian government!) and we will start loading them to the cartouche.
While this change is great, we realize this brings a few concerns to all the hard work you’ve put into creating the waze maps so far, so we wanted to explain how this process will be carried out which is why we’re sending this email.

Before we start, you should know that you can take a break for the next 2 days. Any changes made after we start the process will not make it to the final version of the map, and we don’t want you to waste your time. We will also put a big red pop-up on the cartouche itself letting you know once we started our work.
The technical descriptions are below (and my apologies for sending such a long email… only read if you’re interested).
At the end of the process, Canadian maps will remain on www.waze.com/cartouche, and aerial images should be up and running in the background.
Thanks and please feel free to email us if you have any concerns or questions
Dror
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Technicalities:

So how will the maps be combined? I will refer to two maps – the GOVT (new base map from the Canadian Government) and USER (existing cartouche maps)

  • Since the GOVT has more segments, this will be the base for the new map.
  • Each segment from the USER maps will be checked for a matching segment from the GOVT. If there’s a match, the the GOVT segment will keep its shape, but the driving direction, street name and ownership will be changed to match the USER segment.
  • If there’s no match, the USER segment will be added to the new map with all characteristics (including shape).
  • We will run a process that automatically recognizes highways. This process connects the highways to ramps and opens the driving directions. In this case, any prior info from the USER maps will be kept (info will be added only on new segments).
  • We will run all the drives in Canada up to date; this will open driving directions on all segments that were not created until today and create routing connectivity (allowed turns).
  • As for connectivity; the GOVT maps come with physical connectivity (nodes and their connection to the segments) but without routing connectivity (allowed turns). Unfortunately, we cannot move the routing connectivity from the existing cartouche when a new segment is involved. The only case where connectivity is kept is where two segments were not recognized completely and copied as is from the USER maps (3rd bullet above).

What should you expect?

  1. First of all, great new maps that will make it a lot easier for you to complete the work on your area.
  2. But… also some problems. Most likely you’ll notice a few places where there are duplicates, in case that the USER and GOVT segments were not matched properly, and so both were created in the final map. This is where we will need your help in editing and deleting the extra roads, so if you are not an area manager yet please let us know and we’ll be happy to see if you can join the area managers community.
  3. Routing might not be optimal; even if you got the routes around your house on a good level, you will notice a decrease. This is because we cannot copy the existing routing connectivity (see last bullet above).

As mentioned before, we will put the pop-up on the cartouche once the work begins (most likely in the next couple of hours or by tomorrow the latest) which will be your cue to take a break. I will also post this on the forums.

waze support team
www.twitter.com/waze
[email protected]
Share your experiences on the road with other wazers – waze.com/user_blog

Waze – Twitter for navigation

Lately I’ve been addicted to a pretty neat application called Waze. It brands itself as a social navigation app and has apps for the iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian. I actually played with both the iPhone and Windows Mobile app and both work pretty decently. The app is pretty addictive. You essentially get points for numerous activities such as simply driving around, sharing event such as speed trap, recording new roads and yes, even editing the map. The mobile app works like it’s supposed to although I surprisingly had more problems connecting to the GPS with the iPhone than I did with the Windows Mobile which is quite rare. The web application is simplistic. You have a dashboard that shows you your previous trips and then you can choose to click them to view those trips. You could also choose to use those trips to enhance a current map by filling out roads that are missing and so on. I like the idea of editing my maps but I find the experience quite frustrating at times. Hopefully over time, they will continue to improve on it. The mobile app also integrates with both Twitter and foursquare.

Although maps are pretty sparse in Toronto and thus rendering navigation pretty useless in my area, it is easy to see the use of Waze. Every once in a while, I’ll get an alert stating that segments of the 401 have medium traffic followed by the speed of an anonymous user at the time. People can also report various things such as accidents on the roadways. One of the issues is that it’s technically illegal to operate Waze while driving so it works best when you have another driver in the car with you. For me, I typically just turn on Waze before I start driving and keep on driving. The neat thing about this is outside of giving up some privacy, it typically doesn’t really detract me from doing what I normally do anyway.

To me, what is probably most intriguing about Waze is the social experiment it represents. I’ve always been of the opinion that most people are most interested in controlling their privacy and not so much containing it. Most people are willing to give out information about themselves usually if it benefits them in one way or another. Given its ability to provide real time data to its users, it’s the equivalent of Twitter for navigation