Waze Crowdsourcing for Real-Time Traffic Information

waze-logoOnline services for helping you with your commute or across-town drive are everywhere. Most local news websites have this included, of course, as do many mobile apps and a lot of other social Web services like Facebook are getting on the bandwagon.

What most of them lack, though, is true crowdsourcing and almost perfectly real-time information. Waze has those things.

It’s a mobile app that combines readily-available maps with driver-generated maps. It draws on driving patterns, traffic and accidents, police traps, and more. It then puts all of those things together and analyzes it to make a real-time, real-life map of traffic data.

The app first began in Israel and has been well-vetted there. It’s now in the U.S. and is tuned mainly for Google Android phones. It can use enabled GPS and track your movement to give you real-time, current information based on where you are right now and where you’re going.

waze-mobile2The more users in a given area, of course, the better the information the app has to deliver. So those in larger metro areas will obviously have a better and more up-to-the-minute experience than those in less populous areas. As traffic would have it, though, those areas with more drivers to use the app are the areas that likely need it most anyway.

The app even tracks users who’re logged in that are in your area (anonymously, no names) to show you where the information is likely coming from, if you’d like. This is interesting to see for sure.

On the back-end, the app allows you to report bad information, which will give “bad marks” to those who are giving that bad information. That way, good information can be sorted from bad and, over time, the site will become more and more able to filter or flag questionable info based on the user(s) who input it.

Definitely a great app for those who spend a lot of time in (or avoiding) traffic. Right now, it’s limited in the beta stage to San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. They are currently working towards approval on an iPhone app for Waze as well.

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