Most of you have probably heard the buzz about a GPS app for iOS and Android called Waze. If not, you can read some of the recent articles about the app here and here. Waze is a free crowdsourced traffic app that provides turn by turn navigation for drivers. Another startup fairytale story – from small company to early fanatical adopters to mass adoption with help from national media coverage to a $1.1 billion acquisition by Google. It’s become quite the sensation, not only because of its almost always reliable navigational service, but also because of its crowdsource and gamification features. Here’s Waze in a nutshell.
With a great user interface and a fun vibe to the app, it makes it extremely easy for the consumer to quickly take to it and navigate the roads. The menu has an array of options and you’re able to check all traffic reports from accidents, to traffic jams, to hazards such as roadkill. Because Waze is crowdsourced, all information relies heavily upon people, like you.
You can see others that are on the road with you and get notifications as you drive about what is going on around you. I am extremely pleased with this app given that the police notifications are usually on point. You’re not only notified of police within distance, but also whether they are hidden or visible. Hazards are also reported and this becomes extremely helpful especially when it’s roadkill right in the middle of your lane. Eek!
Now, how can Waze provide such accurate notifications you ask? Well, as the app states, we’re all “outsmarting traffic, together.” By taking part in reporting traffic jams, police sightings, etc., you are also doing your part to make the roads a safer place for your fellow drivers. This is where the gamification piece of Waze comes in. You can earn points and increase your ranking within the community by reporting traffic incidents, recording new roads, updating house numbers, etc. Basically anything that will improve the map data. Seeing how the community came together made me want to take part and I got hooked really quick.
To help solve the problem of heavy app usage while driving, Waze has a feature that will not let you enter destination details if the vehicle is moving (it’ll ask whether you’re a passenger or a driver). Make sure to put your information in before you hit the road. Please remember to always be safe on the road and do not drive while staring at the app. I usually earn my points when I’m the passenger in the car, not while driving.
What map app do you or your team use?