Waze: Crowd sourcing for real time navigation?


Waze is a GPS-based geographical navigation application program for smartphones and tablets with GPS support and display screens which provides turn-by-turn information and user-submitted travel times and route details, downloading location-dependent information over mobile networks. It was originally founded by an Israeli developer and was later acquired by Google.

What does Waze do?

Waze is pretty simple, just like looking for directions in Google maps, one can give the starting point and the destination information to get the desired route details. The resulting map with the direction details also includes community shared information like travel time, optimal route, hazards on the road, potholes, blocked roads, construction work, etc.

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How does it work?

There are two ways one can contribute to crowd sourcing via Waze. Passively, when the user opens Waze, the smartphone automatically starts sharing information with the other users on the road. Like, traveling speed helps show where traffic is and reroutes everyone around potential traffic zones along a particular route.

The users can also actively take part in sharing information. In addition to traffic updates, information about live road events such as police activity, accidents, speed traps, stalled vehicles, and other road hazards are collected this way. For example a fellow user of the application can update any road block they come across on their way and that gets publicized to the entire community. Above is one example of a travel route in San Francisco where a fellow user had updated the pothole information.

Other Applications:

Not only everyday routes, Waze also helps with the traffic and roadblocks schedule during festive seasons or special events. Waze community when they foresee disasters or major events happen, update the map with possible road closures, obstructions. This helps everyone bypass traffic and take safe routes.

Apart from this, waze is now partnering with governments to come up with better solutions for cities like planning garbage disposal routes and better city planning.

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Waze motivates users to contribute via a point system With higher points you can change your profile picture and get a higher status in the community. Users get points based on the edits and updates they do to improve the maps.

Monetization:

Waze offers re-sellers and advertisers a web interface to advertise based on locations where a small icon will appear on a given location for an interested Wazer to engage with the ads. Waze also offers to TV news stations a web interface to broadcast current traffic reports and alerts directly from the app.

In the future we can expect waze to evolve as a bigger player in the market and probably take over companies like Uber and lyft, with their concept of car pooling ideas. Waze has built a bigger community that can be leveraged to introduce live tracking of users near you who would want a ride.

So what are you waiting for? Netherlands is one of the 13 countries which has a complete map on waze. Start using it and start contributing to live Netherlands navigation information!

References:

Lyft could see future competition from Google as Waze trials car-pooling app

http://infospace.ischool.syr.edu/2012/12/21/does-waze-really-work/

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-waze-and-how-to-use-it-2013-6?op=1&IR=T

 

 

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