There’s all sorts of Waze around this traffic

So I’ve got a smart phone….a droid…to be precise a HTC EVO. I’ve been messing around with it…loading different applications….removing applications.

The newest thing I’ve downloaded is Waze. Well actually, I downloaded it about a month ago and have been playing around with it. It’s been an off driving month so I haven’t done enough with the application but so far – one thumb up while I keep my other hand on the steering wheel.

My first trip to Atlanta last month I used Waze. It took me off the beaten path before I got stuck on 1-75 and dumped me right where I needed to be in Roswell Georgia….I was a bit stressed because of three things:

  • I’m not local – I have no idea if I’m going in the right direction
  • I was headed for a meeting and I knew if I had a screw-up I was going to be stupid late.
  • I didn’t wish to tell my local GIS’ers the way I had come down. I’ve been the point of derision multiple times with “You got here HOW?”

Overall the concept is simple – put this application in the hands of users and you have multiple constantly updating sensors on road conditions. You can drop flags to warn users of hazards, speed traps, and accidents. Get enough applications and you can start to get a feel for road conditions. I think in Chattanooga we only have 100 users. One of the video clips I watched boasts 150,000 users in Los Angeles. Here’s a clip from a Fox news affiliate in LA.

The one big thing that puzzled me was the road network. After some investigating, it’s a user-generated road network. The application collects the data and relays that info back to the main map. Except I have an itchy suspicion that the base layer may have been supplemented with Tiger data. It does appear however that the map is constantly getting better. My big question is what do they do with the road layer generated…my bigger statement is I really glad I’m not in the business of selling GPS road data to companies as my main source of income.

My only complaint. It’s another distraction for me in the car. That’s just me – I don’t anything distracting me while I’m whipping down the road. Overall, I like it. I’ll keep using it and see how the application develops.