- 1 Intro/Summary
- 2 POI Updating
- 2.1 Step 1: Get the Address in Question
- 2.2 Step 2: Check for Business Name (If Applicable)
- 2.3 Step 3: How to Fix
- 2.4 Step 3.5: Possible Variation
This guide is to help you with POI update requests!
Before we begin, let's define two things. First, POI stands for 'point of interest' and is basically used to refer to any given spot on the map as a destination. I typically use POI in this guide to refer to destinations that have a name, such as a business name, the name of a park, a building, etc. But POI can often vaguely refer to residential house numbers (people often refer to those UR's as a 'POI problem' too.)
Secondly, this guide walks you through how to work in Waze and somewhat in Google. It is possible that the relevant data needs to be fixed in other providers as well (particularly if it's another provider that is providing the search results that lead to bad destination routing) but since I don't provide those instructions it's easier to refer to Google throughout the majority of the guide as if it is the only possible provider.
It is a common complaint of most Wazers that their destination was not set at the correct location. Knowing how to handle this kind of UR and fixing it for our Wazers will go a long way towards satisfaction in the product and continued usage, and possibly even recommending it to others!
The irony of the situation is that this problem is not actually caused by Waze. Currently Waze does not maintain an innate POI database. Based on landmark standards (these are the ones for the US for instance), nearly all POI's are not mapped and the few that are mapped have specific requirements in how they're mapped.
Waze also has a house number (or street number) system, with useful stop points, but again this system is not actually used by Waze to find a destination unless it cannot find a match in other search providers (such as Google.)
This page will attempt to explain in more detail why the POI system can cause incorrect driving destinations and how you can work around it and/or fix it for your users.
Step 1: Get the Address in Question
You can't fix anything if you don't know what address the user needs fixed. So, the first thing you'll need to do is ask them what the address they want fixed is. This is not included in the report by default for privacy reasons; if the user wishes to give this information to you it is of course their prerogative. If a user does not wish to give you the address, simply route them to this page and they can update the map themselves without needing to share the address of their destination with anyone else!
For our example, our test address is going to be 6671 S Virginia St, in Reno, NV. If you pull it up in WME, you should get this:
At the time the UR was reported, instead of being routed to a destination on S Virginia St, the user was being routed to the ramp just off of the interstate! But do take note that the parking lot roads in that parking lot were not mapped at the time. This will be a step to take later, so keep it in mind!
Step 2: Check for Business Name (If Applicable)
As will be the case with a good portion of UR's for POI, this location is in what seems to be a commercial area. Chances are it's referring to a business. It's often good to ask your Wazer what the business name is when asking for the address, but if they only give you the address you can attempt to find a business name yourself (or if they only give you the business name you'll need to look up the address for it, too.) You'll need both (unless there is no business name, like a residence) in order to continue.
One way of finding the business this address refers to is to flip to Google maps for the area (WME Toolbox provides a very useful tool for doing this, otherwise you can simply google '6671 S Virginia St, in Reno, NV' and then click on the map picture to the right, or go into Maps first before typing/copying in the address.)
If you click on the business pins around one by one you might find one that matches the address the user gave. You can also use regular google (not maps) and see if a company name appears in any of the search results.
Note, however, that if you search Google maps using JUST the address alone (without a business name), the pin is in one location, yet the name "Total Wine & More", which clearly has the exact same address, is in a different location.
This is an important distinction. Essentially what happens in Waze is that it gets the exact location of that pin from Google (or potentially a different provider but usually Google), and then routes you to the closest drivable surface to the location provided by Google.
So essentially, if you search for '6671 S Virginia St' in Waze, you will get the pin that is on the road (thanks to Google.) If you search for 'Total Wine & More', you will get the pin that is on the building (thanks to Google.)
Look at that pin on the building, though, and compare it to the map in WME. If there were no parking lot roads mapped in Waze (and there weren't at the time of the UR), the closest driveable surface would be that ramp from the interstate! And that is exactly why the user was routed there. Even though the user only provided the address, and the pin for Waze and for Google for that address were on the road, it's clear that what the user actually searched for was the business name, because that is where they were routed to. This is why it's good to check for (and fix) both!
Step 3: How to Fix
House Number in Waze
Setting a House Number in Waze is easy. You can follow the instructions here. Also remember to set the stop point.
However, note that this is going to do absolutely nothing to help the user. Essentially you are providing this information for when or if Waze ever switches to using their house number system. It's just good map practice that when you know a house number (or street number), you either add it or double-check that it's already there.
Put a Drivable Surface Closer
Remember those parking lot roads that I said didn't exist at the time of the UR? They were added specifically for this reason. Since the pin used has Waze calculate the closest drivable surface as the ramp, mapping the parking lot roads even closer to the location provided by Google than the ramp is will have Waze route there instead.
This is often the only fix you can do in Waze and have results back to the user fast enough for them to see a difference. Changes in Waze are fast, within 1-2 days. Changes in Google are much slower (see next section.)
When mapping parking lot roads, make sure to stick to agreed upon standards. Depending on the situation, you may be able to use another type of road. Whatever you use though, make sure it is mapped appropriately! This is not an acceptable reason to map a drivable surface that doesn't exist. If you have nowhere to map a drivable surface closer, you will have to resort to fixing it in Google (or telling your user to.)
Using Normal Google Maps (Reporting)
There's two ways to take care of this in Google. The first way is to 'report' it and let other Google map editors take care of it, much like some Wazer reported it and now you're looking into it. Personally I feel this is 'passing the buck' but if it's all you have time for, then that's fine. You can also recommend this step to your Wazer as well.
Mainly what you'll be reporting is that the pins are not in the correct location. If you (or the Wazer when they get there) want to report any other errors in Google's information, I'm sure they'll appreciate it. Duplicates in particular can be bad for Waze usage as well and should probably be reported.
In this case, the business pin is spot on. It doesn't need to be moved. That is indeed the correct location for the business. Now, unlike Waze, Google does not have stop points. But they do (for some reason) record the pin specific to the address separate from any and all other entries that include a business name. (There can be several pins all for one address if they each refer to different business names. This can be duplicates, or sometimes a breakdown of each company within a building by suite number, etc. But there should only ever be one pin for the address without a business name, unless another previous editor mapped a duplicate.)
While looking at the location in Google Maps, click on the question mark in the bottom right and hit 'Report a data problem.'
If you did not have the pin in question selected at the time it will prompt you. Either way, it will then offer you the chance to report anything you wish. For location (what we're most concerned with), you will simply have to type a description of where it should be moved to. This isn't particularly efficient and again why I recommend the 'do it yourself' way.
Using Google Mapmaker (Do It Yourself)
You can access Google Mapmaker at google.com/mapmaker (easy enough to remember.) If you don't want to type, here's a link. I find that it works best in the Chrome browser but I did have a lot of problems trying to save edits with the 'Ad Blocker' plugin enabled. There's no ads here so you can easily disable it for this site at which point Chrome works perfectly.
You will have to search for either the address or the business name (remember they're recorded separately), whichever you want to move, possibly both (you almost always have to fix the address pin though as most will be auto-generated, details below). In this case the business name is correct so we're going to move (or actually 'suggest' to move, we'll get to that in a minute) the address pin.
After searching, the results will display on the map (if they don't you can click on the results list to scroll the map to that location.) Multiple search results will each have their own letter which may dynamically change as you zoom in and out and scroll around.
Find the pin you want to move and literally click and drag to move it. You can put it down and pick it up again several times until you finally get it right where you want it (directly on the building it refers to is the preferred method, close to the entrance used by the public for that location. Do not set it on the road or the driveway to the location. I suggest also turning on street view if there's one within sight of your destination; this will be the 'street view' that pops up when arriving at the destination when someone is using Google Navigate instead of Waze, and having it show the actual entrance to the building as your destination (preferably with business name clearly visible and centered, if applicable) is professional-looking.)
After you let go of the pin it will pop up as 'continue' or 'cancel.' Keep moving it until it's where you want, then hit 'continue' to be taken to the page where you can confirm and possibly add a note about why you suggest this edit. If so, skip to below where it says 'A note on notes'.
If you get an error message when moving an address pin:
The 'pick it up and move it' technique works extremely well for POI's that already exist, such as businesses. However, addresses very often do not actually 'exist' (even though you searched for it, found a pin and moved it and everything.) If you get an error message, it's typically because the address doesn't actually exist yet and is being auto-generated from Google's attempted awareness of the street numbers used on each section of the road. (This is quite typical of pins that are exactly on the road itself and not accurate for the address they actually refer to.)
What you will need to do in this situation is 'add' the address. This way if a Wazer found out what the address of "Total Wine & More" was, and just asked Waze to go straight to "6671 S Virginia St" (without a business name), it would route to the exact same spot as if they had put a business name (consistency is always a good thing.) Out there on the street is probably 'close enough' but if you've got the time and desire to be more accurate, adding this additional clarity improves Google's map for everyone that uses Google (including Wazers.)
Click the red 'ADD NEW' button and instead of selecting a category type the word 'Address' and click to continue.
You'll be able to select a street number but instead of typing the name of the street you will have to select it from a drop down list of streets in the area. This will automatically fill in city, state, and zipcode for you. Then you'll be able to add a comment (see the 'note on notes' below).
A Note on Notes:
I often like to put the comments 'Reported on behalf of a Waze user' in any edits I make on behalf of a Wazer. Other google editors will see YOUR name, but by saying that it's on behalf of a Waze user it alerts the Google editors of the situation and that this information is getting to Google second-hand. It also spreads the word about Waze and maybe more people will start using it, always a good thing!
This is important because Google Mapmaker works on a wiki system similar to Waze (after all anyone can go in and make edits) but unlike Waze, it runs on an 'approval' system. After making an edit, it can take an indeterminate amount of time for other editors to come along and vote on whether to approve or deny the edit. If enough editors (or a high-ranking one or even a bot) approves the edit, it goes through and gets pushed to both Google's Navigate and Waze (although I think it gets to Waze faster, once the push is made.) If the edit gets denied, obviously it does not occur and you'll need to research what to do on your own as that's more into Google's policies than I know about.
Once you've put the note, click 'Save' and it will run a duplicate check. This mostly applies to adding a new address pin, but if you're editing an already existing POI, you might get a duplicate check anyway. If you are adding a new address pin though, make sure you've correctly put the street number. This duplicate check will only return addresses that have actually been added, NOT the 'auto-generated' address that was originally unable to be moved. If the address you're adding DOES already exist, then try again to move it, and if you still have problems you'll need to research it or ask Google for help on your own.
Assuming there's no duplicate, say so and continue, which will submit the change. Again at this point it's up to other Google Mapmaker users to approve the change.
If you encounter any issues in Google Mapmaker beyond the scope of this guide, I recommend asking (or looking to see if your question is already answered) on the Google Mapmaker official forums: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/map-maker
Step 3.5: Possible Variation
All of Step 3 is assuming that it is either using Waze's house numbers (rare, only if search providers don't return a result) or Google's data. Since Google will auto-generate a 'guess' for most any address even if it doesn't have it specifically mapped, Google's data nearly always gets used. (The exception is if an incorrect city, such as a CDP, is included in the search request from the Wazer, and Google doesn't have a road of that name in a city of that name, but Waze does, thanks to the city name on the segment with the house number. But that's a pretty rare situation.)
However, it's extremely common for a user to not know the actual address of their destination (or not want to enter it) and to instead search by the name of the POI or business. Searching via this method will actually include any and all landmarks in Waze, and if the exact spelling of the landmark does not match the exact spelling of a result in Google, then selecting a spelling that only exists as a Waze Landmark will route you to the Waze Landmark. (If both Google and Waze have data for any given spelling, Google's data is used.)
In this case, though, the actual 'location' it routes to is the pin in the middle of the landmark (the one you would click to move the entire landmark without changing the shape.) Similar to how it gets a location from Google and then goes to the closest drivable surface, Waze will calculate the location of that 'pin' in the middle of the landmark and go to the closest drivable surface. This is very commonly seen in airports for instance, causing users to be routed into the middle of the airport (and possibly even runways or service roads) instead of to the terminal. But it can apply to any large landmark such as a college campus or park.
This can be confirmed by setting a landmark as a destination in your Waze client, and look for where the 'checkered flag' is. It will be in exactly the same spot as the 'move pin' for the landmark. The purple line taking you there will end at the closest drivable surface to this checkered flag, just like when using any POI information from Google (since landmarks in Waze don't have stop points like house numbers do.)
For that reason, a standard has been developed for landmarks which are actually mapped in Waze and could potentially be navigated to by name (it's unclear about what allows/causes Waze's landmarks to be able to be set as a destination but it DOES happen occasionally, so it's good to address the issue. I'm pretty sure it's the 'no match found in Google' requirement again, though.) Map the landmark correctly, but with no name (this prevents it from ever being a search result in Waze.) Then, map a second landmark, small, directly over the entrance you want users to be routed to. This landmark gets the name. Currently there's no way to link the two landmarks so you'll have to watch for younger editors adding a name to the big landmark and/or deleting the smaller one.