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South Africa

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Revision as of 22:49, 17 March 2011 by Glipsie (Talk | contribs)

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Complete Guide to Waze in South Africa (Under Development)

Thank you for your interest in improving the roads in South Africa. To get started, make sure you are up to speed with the basics of how to use the link cartouche. Editing is a time consuming activity, so it can be handy to learn the shortcut keys.

Before you being, please read the information about link Google aerial images and the use of Googze (i.e. don't use it!). Consulting a map book or looking up the name of the road should be ok, but do not trace roads from Google maps or Google aerial images. In areas which have been gated off I have found that Google is not correct anyway.

Choosing the correct road type

Choosing the correct road type is important in correctly mapping out your area.


Freeway: Freeways are free flowing roads with no stop streets or traffic lights. These are generally your national roads (N1, N2, N3 ...) or motorways (M1, M2 ...). Major Highway: These are roads with a few stops or traffic lights. They are generally alternate routes leading from one major city to another that go through the center of smaller towns. They are generally regional roads (R roads) (R21, R23, R24, R29) with few stops and multiple lanes.

Minor Highway: These are similar to major highways except they have more stops, so most intersections will either be a stop or a traffic light. They will generally be R roads which are single lane.


Ramps are used to map entrances and exits to highways. It is important that you do not use ramps to map slip roads/interchanges between any other roads as this may confuse the client in future versions.

Primary Street

These are roads that are not highways and are heavily used. Examples in Johannesburg would be Rivonia Road, Bowling Avenue and South Road in Sandton. Jan Smuts, Rissik and Empire in town.

Service Road

These are roads that run alongside freeways and highways that allow access for emergency vehicles. I have not seen an example of such in South Africa as we generally have a hard shoulder which is used for this purpose.

Dirt Roads/4x4 Trails

Self explanatory. Any road that is non-tarred and non-paved can be considered a dirt road.

Parking Lot Road

Self explanatory. Use this type of road to map out parking lots to shopping centers etc. It is not necessary to map every single lane of the parking lot, just the general exits/entrances.

Private Road

These are roads that are not drivable by the general public. i.e. you need special permission to access these roads. An example would be the roads inside a complex (think Dainfern in Fourways or the Equestrian estate in Woodmead.


Any drivable road that does not fit into the category above is a street.

Non drivable road

Do not use these categories. They are unnecessary

Naming the road

Here the more information you can provide, the better. This allows for easier searching and quicker identification of turns. Always write out the suffix in full, i.e. Road instead of rd, Highway instead of Hwy, Avenue instead of Ave.

Freeways and motorways

Freeways and motorways generally have a letter/number that everyone recognizes as well as a name that most people don't. For example, the N1 by Johannesburg is called the Western Bypass. As such, the northbound section should be named: N1 Western Bypass North, while the southbound portion should be named N1 Western Bypass South. If you are unsure of the full name, then just name it by its common name, i.e. N1 North. It is advisable to use the full direction and not the abbreviation as N1 North looks a lot cleaner on the client than N1 (N)

Major and minor highways

The same rules apply as those for freeways, however, you should think carefully about splitting major highways. Minor highways that are single lane in either direction should never be split. In such cases you would simple leave out the direction indicator.

Primary Roads

Most primary roads will have a name that everyone recognises and a number that not many do. For example, Bowling Avenue is the M85. The naming scheme should be the name followed by the number in brackets, i.e. Bowling Avenue (M85) or Commissioner Street (R24)


Normal streets generally just have a name. If the street is a number, it is acceptable to use the number instead of writing it out, i.e. 1st Street, 2nd Avenue.

Naming the City

South African addresses are complicated in that they have multiple levels: An example would be: Country: South Africa
Province: Gauteng
City: Johannesburg
Town: Sandton
Suburb: Morningside

Waze automatically stores the country, so this is unnecessary. However, the other three are all likely candidates when searching for an address. This is a problem as Waze only allows us to capture 1 entry under city. Wazers have got round this problem by capturing the suburb, city. So the above example would be Morningside, Johannesburg. This is the recommended method as just capturing the suburb can cause confusion with people who are not familiar with the area.

Splitting a road

Splitting a road is not advisable as this causes a lot of maintenance when intersections with the split road need to be created. Most of the time you will find that you can get away with aligning the geometry of the road to the center of the split roads, then select the "Separating Lane" option in the edit panel. If you drive close enough, Waze should route you on the correct road.

If, however, you find that GPS tracks are far off, or the client keeps putting you on a different road, then you have no choice but to split the road.

Tips for successful editing

  1. In the View Panel select "Highlight Connectivity". When you click a road the cartouche will highlight each road that your selected road can lead to in green, and highlight each road that leads to your selected road in red/orange. This is useful to identify if you have turn restrictions in place.
  2. Do not use the turn restriction layer. As of writing it is broken and can cause hours of frustration!
  3. Do not delete roads! There is a problem with area managers not being notified of road deletions. There are also a lot of inactive area managers, so these roads will probably never be deleted. Rather edit the geometry and move them somewhere else. This saves you having to draw a new road anyway.
  4. If you need to move two connected roads far from where they currently are, disconnect them from each other. To do this, click the road, then click the junction where they connect and click "Disconnect road from node". Greatly changing the geometry of road you are not working on will make it very difficult for you to then select that road as the cartouche will think it is still in its original position. If this does happen to you, try click a part of the road that did not move.
  5. Drawing two roads so that they touch does not automatically mean you can turn from the one to the other. To do this, make sure you add a junction. And to make your life easier, make sure you always have "Enable all turns" checked. This means you can then restrict just the turns that are not possible.
  6. To select multiple roads, hold down the control key while click on the roads.
  7. Once you are done with an area, turn on the "Map Problems" layer. This will help you quickly identify problems. If you can't work out what a problem is, look in the view panel for a description. If you still can't work out what the problem is, it might be a small piece of a road underneath. Try moving some of the roads out the way to see if a latent piece of road was left cut off when you added a junction.
  8. Learn the shortcut keys. They make life a lot simpler!
  9. FAQ


    Final words

    Just have fun and happy wazing. Hope to see you on the roads soon!