Waze Map Editor

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This page is the key starting point for any editor of the Waze maps. Ensure that you read through the entire page to best prepare you for the many bits of information needed to make you a good map editor. People who edit the map without fully understanding many of these elements can do more harm than good with their edits. If you cannot find an answer to your question somewhere in the Wiki, be sure to post a question in the Waze Forums where many experienced Wazers will be happy to provide an answer. Just be sure you did your best to search for the answer in the Wiki here.


The Road Maps History

The Waze map was started in many countries by importing publicly available road data. This data was fairly accurate in geometry, but could be out of date. It also did not include some details vital for a navigation system such as permitted travel direction, and distinctions between driveable roads and non-driveable ways, such as railroads and canals. The imported maps also did not indicate if a junction or bridge was present where roads crossed. Waze defaulted to a junction in all cases, and even though turn restrictions may show as being in place at these junctions, all turns are actually allowed if the segments have never been edited. This set of data was enough to get started, but definitely needed updating and maintenance.

This is where two key aspects of the Waze system come into play:

  1. The web-based map editing tools for Waze users to edit maps of their neighborhoods, cities or other places with which they are familiar.
  2. The collecting of GPS data from Waze users to modify the maps to set road direction and turning permissions at intersections.

Some countries had no data available for their road systems, so the maps for these countries must be built from the ground up by Waze users. The maps are created in the web editor using roads recorded in the Waze client and the stored GPS tracks of all Waze users superimposed over available aerial photography.


The Map Editor

Waze is currently using its second generation map editing interface (covered in this article). Known as the Waze Map Editor (or WME for short), it is the default editor for Waze since September 19, 2011. This editor interface is internally code-named "Papyrus", and was functionally upgraded on April 21, 2013. There are currently three different server farms managing the maps of the world. Be sure to log into the appropriate server when making edits to a particular part of the world. You can use the same username on all servers, but your editing points are managed separately by each server. Also the maps are not synchronized between the servers, so for example if you went to the North America server to modify parts of Europe, the different server supporting Wazers in Europe would not see your changes.


Map Editing Quick-start Guide

Learning the best map editing techniques for proper navigation and appearance takes some time and practice, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience too. You can be proud that you are improving the experience for all Waze users. The details in later sections of this page are important for you to learn, but for simple edits, there is a Map Editing Quick-start Guide to get you going quickly.

It is very important that all editors take time to read all the documentation found in the #Editing Manual to ensure the Waze map remains complete, accurate, and able to fully and properly route users.


Accessing the Waze Map Editor (WME)

Basics

The Waze Map Editor editor is currently officially supported on the Chrome browser only. It may or may not work on other browsers, but there is currently no official support for issues that might arise.

You can access the map editing page directly using the links above in The Map Editors section, or you can reach it from the Waze homepage as follows:

  1. From the Waze homepage select the Login link at the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Select "Live Map" in the main navigation header.
  3. Select "Update Map" located just above the map viewer.

Once logged in, your screen should look something like this:

Wme1 sample post login.jpg

For the sake of efficiency, you may also wish to bookmark the link directly to the map editor:

Best Map Editing Practices

When editing the Waze maps, please be sure to first review this page and also follow the best map editing practice. You should also be aware of known Waze Map Editor issues or missing features.

Additional Details

Using the WME, you can add, edit, or delete nearly any object within your editable area. If a road segment is locked by a user with a higher editing level than you, the road, intersection, or turn permissions connected to that road segment cannot be altered unless you chose one of the following:

  • Place a request to the Update Request forums to unlock that segment by giving them a permalink with the segment or segments highlighted and a country manager may unlock it for you.
  • Send a Private Message (PM) to the previous editor using the Forum PM functionality. As of the August 12, 2012 update, Area Managers are no longer able to override segments locked by higher-level editors.

Be sure to check out the Map Editing Tips and Hints page for some shortcuts for logging in to the map editor and other great pieces of information to enhance your map editing.

Play Mode

The Waze Map Editor has a practice mode called Play mode in which you can perform nearly every action available when logged into the Editor, except that you cannot save any changes. In order to save changes, you must log in. Play mode is helpful to and should be used by users who are new to map editing in Waze.

If you are a new editor, take time to read the editing manual and use the editor in Play mode, practicing the functions you would if you were logged in, but without the worry of permanently messing something up. Add, delete, update segments. Change their properties, direction, road type. Connect segments to other segments, try changing turn restrictions. Restrict all turns on a junction, build a roundabout, add a park landmark, build an overpass, delete extra junctions, give a segment a different name, an alternate name, set its level differently, etc.


Editable Area

Your editable area consists of:

  • Areas within a certain distance of any location you have driven with Waze running in the past 3 to 4 months. This distance depends on your editing rank.
  • Areas in which you have requested to be an Area Manager.

Once you have practiced all the functionality, go ahead and log in and try it for real.

Map Editing Basics

The Waze Map Editor editor was designed to be used without much documentation, but this list will give the quick basics for drawing a new road, roundabout, or landmark

  1. Click the item you want to create under the big + button
    • For a road, click to start drawing, click to add a geometry node as you follow a path, and double-click (or shift-click) to end drawing
    • For a roundabout, click at the center of the roundabout and move the mouse to size it. Click to create it. Note there must be roads leading into the roundabout first.
    • For a landmark, or POI (Point of Interest), click to start the landmark and click as you follow the outline of the area. Double-click to end drawing.
  2. For each object, there are details you need to enter before saving, such as the city, street name, direction and level, or landmark type for landmarks.
  3. Click the Save button

You can also modify or delete existing map objects. You do this by selecting an object, then modifying its geometry, location or properties. What is possible with each object depends on the type of object. The Editing Manual is where you will find all the details necessary to understand all the editor functionality.

Permalink

Wme31 permalink.jpg

In the Waze Map Editor, a permalink is a URL used to take you or someone else directly to a specific map location. It stores and encodes the latitude, longitude, zoom level, visible layers, and any objects such as roads, junctions, or landmarks which are selected at the time the permalink is recorded.

To create a permalink to your current map editor view, first set the zoom level and select any road segments or junctions you want to point out to the user who will view the permalink. Use the multiple select option for your browser (CTRL-LEFT-CLICK for Windows-based systems) to select more than one segment to be highlighted in your permalink. Next right-click (for Windows-based systems) the Permalink hyperlink at the lower right corner of the browser screen (see image). That will bring up the option to copy the URL into your computer clipboard.

Alternately you can left-click the hyperlink to reload the page which updates the URL at the top of the browser window which you can highlight and copy. With this method, be sure to first save any unsaved changes because this operation of the Permalink button will reload the browser window and lose any unsaved changes.

If you notice the road layer does not match the Google aerial layer, you can press the Permalink button to regenerate the screen and clear up the misalignment. If instead you use the browser reload option the map will move to the location of the last time you pressed the Permalink button.

The last permalink is saved with your user profile. When you restart the browser and go to the Waze Map Editor, it will automatically take you to the last permalink you recorded.

When sharing a permalink be aware that what the recipient can see is limited by the recipients permissions. For example, editors cannot see update requests (URs) or map problems (MPs) outside their editable area. Thus, when posting a permalink regarding a UR or MP in the forums, be aware that only local editors, area managers for the area and country managers for the country will be able to view the UR or MP. If you wish for a broader audience to view the issue raised in a UR or MP, you will need provide the relevant information such as by posting a screen shot of the open UR or MP.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Below are the default keyboard shortcuts for the Waze Map Editor. You can customize some keyboard shortcuts by bringing up the keyboard shortcuts help window (with the ? key), select a shortcut and then press the single key you want to use instead of the default one. This affects the current browser and computer only. This shortcut information is not stored on the server, so you would have to repeat this for each computer and browser you use.

Template:Keyboard shortcuts WME


Map Update Timing

Edits made in the online editors do not appear on the Live Map nor client immediately. Waze has a long-term goal of 24hr update processing. With the completion of infrastructure upgrades in the 2nd half of 2012, both North America and World map updates are running weekly.

Please see the Timeline of updating process page for more detail on the various processes Waze runs and expected update timing.

Editing Manual

Style Guides

The Style Guides are important for understanding the nuances of road network design in Waze. Please take time to read, and reference them in the future when you come upon a tricky intersection.

Using External sources (such as Google Imagery)

Usage of any external copyrighted source of information, in order to add information to the Waze database or maps, is not allowed. External copyright information includes any online or printed map information that is not provided by Waze through the Waze Map Editor interface.

With the recent acquisition of Waze by Google, Inc., changes have been made to the Waze Map Editor to include updated aerial and street view images from Google. These are considered internal sources and completely acceptable to be used in creating map information for Waze. Google's terms of use restricts use of their map information to specific conditions and Waze has the proper licensing to use what you see inside the Waze Map Editor, but nothing else.

Using any source of external copyright information puts the Waze maps under danger of being forced to revert all changes done to the map in your area / country.

If any user were to do such a thing, it would taint all the work that person did on the maps and Waze would need to reverse out all those edits. There could also be other adverse effects. Waze has already had to remove all the maps for Chile, and other South American countries because the source of the map data was not properly licensed (not the result of any Waze action).

Users may negotiate with officials in their country for access to aerial images that Waze can use. The user must be careful not to give the impression that they are acting on behalf of Waze. But as an interested citizen any user can speak with local authority, in a local language, to explain the benefits to their country in making aerial images freely available as a public good.

Note that external copyright information does not include any source of information that is provided by Waze through the internal tools of the online editor or application. Also any information developed independently by a user being physically present at a site is acceptable to add to the map as long as it is provided without copyright.