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User:Tonestertm/HouseNumbers in depth

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Note that this page is still a bit under construction, please bear with any missing parts. Thanks! -tonestertm

How House Numbers work: the nitty gritty

Here's a little clarification about how House Numbers work in Waze; they do not function in the same way that Google address pins do, in the Waze map.

Waze House Numbers have two parts: the Number point and the Stop Point. <insert image> The Number point belongs directly centered over the building with that address. Waze does not route to the Waze Number Point. <insert image>

Routing in the Waze app

There is a prioritized system of "trust" when searching for an address in the client app -- using the "instant" or "autofill" results, Waze will route to either the Waze Stop Point or the Google pin, according to the trust level for that address:

  1. Waze Residential Places
  2. Confirmed Waze House Numbers
  3. Google Address Pins
  4. Unconfirmed Waze House Numbers (if no Google pin is found)

When a Residential Place result is used, Waze will route to the physically-nearest spot it can get on the nearest routeable segment, whether that's the named street, a Parking Lot in front of the location, or even an alley behind the location. Placement of all Waze points must be done with care!

When a Waze House Number result is chosen, Waze will route to the Stop Point, which is always on the road named in the address.

When a Google result is chosen, Waze usually routes to the closest spot it can get to that pin, in the same way as a Waze Residential Place. The advantage of the Residential Place is that we have complete control over them, whereas Google edit requests can be rejected or go unapproved for an indeterminate period of time. (There are some cases where a Google search result will be redirected to a Waze pin, but the exact mechanism is unclear at this time. It appears that somewhat exact matching of the address, probably including the City name, must take place, but it seems there are sometimes other factors involved.)

(Most of) Waze's House Numbers were originally imported from an outside source, and these numbers, untouched by an editor, are "unconfirmed". You may have noticed that many of them do not line up well with the buildings and streets in the Waze map. In addition, the address points, as imported from the source, usually sit approximately in the center of the property, rather than on the main building on the property. This is also usually the case with Google address pins.

Note that searching for a public Place Name will not use the address in the place's information, but will use the location of the Point or Stop Point for that Place.

Confirming House Numbers: the wake-up call

So, how does an Unconfirmed House Number get Confirmed and become the second choice for routing, instead of fourth? By handling it and Saving, in the House Number editing window. This occurs because Waze reasons that if an editor has taken the time to open the House Number window and adjust a given House Number, then the information created is likely to be correct, or confirmed.

Confirmation can be accomplished by adjusting the Number Point, the Stop Point, or both, and then Saving. It can even be accomplished by picking up one of these points, moving it away, putting it right back where it was, then Saving. The important thing is, that it got handled and Saved. This process is sometimes referred to as nudging, bumping, touching, or waking up, the House Number.

This is why, when House Numbers reappeared in the WME, it seemed, at first, that moving the Number Point closer to the street, as we sometimes do with Google pins in MapMaker, made addresses work properly. But it wasn't that moving them closer to the street made the Waze HNs work better; it was that they were being handled, increasing their trust level. The Number point itself can move anywhere within a certain range and does not affect routing. House Number Stop Points are on the Street, by design, so they do not cause misroutes to nearby streets, the way that Google pins do, when they sit in the middle of the property.

So, keep in mind as you work HNs in the future: Number Point centered on the building, Stop Point moved to where Waze should route. The important thing is that something gets handled ("nudged") and Saved. This causes Waze to use a House Number instead of a Google pin in future searches. It is a good idea to nudge all House Numbers on a given street when you do one -- if one is routing to the alley, it's likely that others will, in the future.

You can tell if a HN has been previously confirmed by clicking on it. A confirmed HN will cause a "Last edited by..." popup in the upper left of the HN window. The WME HN Tool userscript is also useful for seeing, at a glance, which House Numbers have been confirmed and which haven't.

Any HNs added by an editor are automatically confirmed by the act of their creation -therefore, handling - by an editor.

A final, important note: editing or creating House Numbers does not trigger a tile update, so after nudging HNs, a triggering edit must be completed nearby (if a trigger edit is not made, it can take as much as 3-4 weeks for the HN to become active in routing). This can be as simple as moving a geometry node on a road and putting it back, or flipping a Turn Restriction twice. (Some editors prefer the geonode edit on the road named in the address of the House Number, to indicate the date that an edit was done, since HN work is not reflected in the "Updated by" information. See the Map tiles wiki page for more information about what operations do and don't trigger a tile update.

Stored data: when good phones go bad

So, once you've nudged the misbehaving House Number, thus confirming it and making it the first choice to route to (after a Private Point place, which has priority over even confirmed House Numbers, when it exists) all should be right with the world, and the complaining reporter should now be able to find their home, right?

Almost.

When a search is performed in the Waze app, a request is sent out, using the text entered in the search box. The data that comes back to Waze includes a set of GPS coordinates. These coordinates are stored in the phone AND the online user profile (for Favorites) and used whenever that Favorite or a previous search result (a "history" result) is chosen. These coordinates are NOT refreshed each time the result is chosen, they are static. If a Favorite was stored with a misplaced Google pin or a House Number in the wrong position, Waze will continue to route to that same bad location, given the same road placement in the vicinity.

To make matters worse, when a Favorite or History result is searched again, they come up at the top of the Autofill results, almost ensuring that even a new search will result in the choice of one of the old results, with the bad coordinates, leading to yet another faulty routing, even though the House Number has been confirmed. In order to overcome this, the user must delete their Favorite and/or History result for that given POI or address and search anew, making sure that the result they choose does not have a Star (Favorite) icon or Clock (History) icon at the left. This process of clearing old results and performing a fresh search should load the newly confirmed House Number Stop Point coordinates (once the tiles have updated) and NOW routing should be flawless.

Recap

To make routing work properly when a destination is incorrectly placed on a street "behind":

  • Nudge Waze House Number (or add, if nonexistent)
  • Move Google pin in MapMaker (optional)
  • Inform reporter to delete previous results for that location and do a new search--after the tiles have updated.