Waze is a new mobile social application which provides maps, real-time traffic updates, and turn-by-turn navigation directions for mobile phone users. What’s interesting about this application is that it uses crowdsourcing to deliver both the map and traffic updates.
When launching the app, you’ll see an onscreen map which looks very much like any map in any other application. However, Waze’s dynamic map is created and constantly updated by its users who leave the application open while they drive. Using the phone’s GPS, the service learns where the roads are and this information is uploaded to the Waze.com website. There, members of the Waze community can make improvements to the map, adding in street names, fixing errors, and more.
Waze users can also add information to the Waze application about congestion, accidents, road construction, and other hazards or issues that are causing traffic delays. This info can be added while the app is open, but thankfully, Waze has had the foresight to disable typing while the car is in motion. Users can report map problems with a report button and even take photos of road hazards to share with other users. (Although hopefully they won’t do this while driving.)
Right now, the Waze app is only available on certain mobile platforms, but Windows Mobile users are encouraged to sign up for the Waze alpha program to help test the upcoming version of the Windows Mobile app.
The project is still in its very early stages, so keep that in mind when you’re using the application.