Waze: an App that Combines Crowdsourcing with GPS Navigation

Waze introduces a free crowdsourced GPS app to iOS users that are desperately seeking a better alternative to Apple Maps . Although it may have its flaws, Waze delivers extra features you won’t find on any other navigation app. For this review, we ran Waze version 3.5.1 on the iPhone 4S with AT&T. This app [...]

Waze introduces a free crowdsourced GPS app to iOS users that are desperately seeking a better alternative to Apple Maps . Although it may have its flaws, Waze delivers extra features you won’t find on any other navigation app. For this review, we ran Waze version 3.5.1 on the iPhone 4S with AT&T. This app will set you back 25 MB, and works on any iPhone or iPad with iOS 4.0 or later.

Waze combines real world trip data from all of its users to create highly efficient routing algorithms that are constantly updated and save you loads of time. With their service you’re notified of police, accidents, road hazards, and traffic jams – all user-generated in real time. Waze rewards you with points, coupons, and exclusive features like “moods”. This encourages you to become an active contributor to the community, which improves its GPS routing for everyone involved.

images


Waze lets you report traffic obstructions.

If you select the exclamation point on the bottom right of the Waze interface, you’ll see nine icons with which you can report the various road hazards like accidents and heavy traffic. Throughout your navigation you’ll also see a number of alerts in your surrounding area, in addition to incoming voice-enabled notifications.  As you approach the area yourself, you can confirm or deny the claim, indicating when an area “clears up” so to speak.

There were a few things we’d preferred to have seen included however.  For example, Waze doesn’t display the current speed limit for the road you’re on, and it won’t provide any lane assistance either. We did run into a couple of ETA gaffes as well, sometimes arriving at our destination way before schedule or 20 minutes after. But these errors were few and far in between, so it could have easily been attributed to a simple software glitch of some kind.

Waze also includes a text to speech support system that prompts you where to go when on route. It’s not the best out there but it gets the job done. Although the app voices the names of major streets and highways, it generally left out most street names, preferring to mention the distance to the turn or which direction to go instead. This can be a little inconvenient when one highway exit splits into two, or when you’re approaching a crowded intersection and have little time to maneuver.

Overall, this GPS app delivers a well designed navigation tool that involves you with your community. Introducing a crowdsourcing engine was a golden idea that we see filling the gaps that most GPS systems today now lack. There is still quite a bit of improvement to be made, but one can’t help but remember that at the end of the day, it’s all free!

Vincent Clarke is a blogger for USB Memory Direct, a leader in the promotional usb drives industry. As someone who works in marketing, he enjoys learning and blogging about new, creative, and effective internet marketing techniques.