The Global Meetup in Pictures and RideWith!

Hey Everyone,

The global meetup ended two weeks ago - but not for us! In the weeks that followed, we’ve been going over the notes from each presentation and workshop, having meetings with the relevant teams, and working on action items. Below you'll see some interesting (and weird)  reflections, as created by our Champs.

We also launched a pilot of RideWith, our carpooling app that works with Waze. Right now it's limited to a small area in Israel, but in the future - well...who knows? Lastly, a spotlight on the support team's olivermarcellus, our proud sole Brazilian here at Waze HQ.

Read on, my friends, read on...

Global Champ Invasion - The Aftermath


53 global champs from 27(!) countries flew over to sunny Tel-Aviv for the Waze Global Meetup. It was a glorious event!  Issues were raised, bugs were fixed, and a LOT of food and alcohol were consumed.

We'll save the serious recap for the relevant forum. Here we'll let the images (some with text) speak for themselves.

Photo: Kent Smith




Carpooling, Waze style


As you may have heard, Waze is running a carpool pilot called RideWith. It's a platform that connects drivers and potential riders – such as neighbours on similar commute routes or co-workers who live near each other. Riders pitch-in on the cost of gas and wear and tear on a vehicle by reimbursing the driver via the app when the ride is complete.

RideWith is all about a better commute with fewer cars on the road, less congestion and pollution.

Right now we're testing RideWith in Israel. But, we'll keep you posted as the trial expands.

Unholy's Bi-weekly Meme


Unholy had doubts about the global meetup, but was satisfied overall with the results



Waze HQ Spotlight: olivermarcellus


Marcelo brings two unique qualities to the support team: Portuguese and some cool dancing moves.



And here is his favorite song, by the mighty Zeppelin:



That's it for now!

Almost. Here's a little something Caradellino made. Check it out:





Let us know what you think... and stay tuned!

The Webinar Strikes Back!

Hey Guys,

Tons of stuff happening right now at Waze! We had some great meetups and have the mother-of-all meetups coming just around the corner! Many Global Champs are busy packing their bags and will be arriving at Waze HQ in just under two weeks time. Meanwhile, we’re working on June’s Webinar - live on air this Sunday, June 14th - which has already beaten the registration numbers of last month’s session!

As for the Waze staff spotlight, we have deblaks - Community Manager for lots of LATAM countries and the happiest person at Waze HQ!

The Webinar Sequel - Bigger, Better, Stronger


Since the first Webinar was a huge success, we decided to go for it again with another Intro to Map Editing webinar on June 14th at 13:00 UTC. This session is scheduled for a time for day that’s a bit more convenient for our Asian and European Wazers - we’ll come back for you West Coasters, promise!

Right now we have 2,472 registrants and counting! That's compared to 1,921 total for last month. Our first session was well received by the community, with almost no user drop off the entire time (despite some technical difficulties at the start). The post-webinar survey was answered by a whopping 62% of the participants with extremely positive feedback.

There are still a few days left to register, see event details and register for the session here. Next up is Intro to Map Editing for Portuguese speakers on July 12th at 14:00 UTC (that’s 11:00am Brazil time) - register for that one here. More languages and more subjects are in the works - stay tuned and hope to see you on the line!

First Indonesia, Then the World!


We had a great meetup in Indonesia, with a strong and rapidly growing community. Over 30 people attended the two day event. Day one was a regional meetup, bringing together editors from all over the archipelago. Day two, a Map-a-thon where the experienced editors in the community mentored newbies and gave tips and tricks on mapping like a pro!

Setting up in Indonesia

The event even got some media interest! CNN Indonesia was on site for the Map-a-thon to learn about the community and what the local map editors are doing to improve maps throughout the country. They were almost as impressed with the community as we are!

Meetup season is in full swing! Next friday we welcome over 50 champs from around the world to take over Tel Aviv. I’m not sure the land of milk and honey is ready for this crew! We'll keep you posted on how it went.

Unholy's Bi-weekly Meme


Unholy's excited about the global meetup, and is doing all he can to make the participants feel comfortable.



Waze HQ Spotlight: deblaks


Deborah is one part of our power Latin duo with Adrian, and the best dancer on the team by far


Here's her favorite tune:


That's it for now!

Let us know what you think... and stay tuned!




Hot Trends: The Webinar, Angola and Version 4

Hey guys, long time no write! We have a ton of stuff to tell you about: including our first webinar for new editors which was a great success! We’re also improving the way we handle ad-related Places in the editor, and we have our first ever official coordinator in Africa!

Of course, we’ve also got Unholy's meme and a staff member unmasked: This time it's Karen Lerman AKA wonderlerm; master of content, special mission: Wazeopedia.

Let's get started.

Reaching Out to New Editors


We had our first webinar for new editors and the response was amazing! All were invited, but we specifically reached out to users rank 1 or 2 who’d performed at least one edit in the past three months.

The response was awesome! We had almost 2,000 registrants and 400 participants from around the world!

In the hour long session, Irad (mapsir) and Karen (wonderlerm, see below!) went through editing basics and some Q&A. After the webinar we sent participants a PDF with links to helpful information and community specific forums/wikis. If you see some new editors in your area, be sure to say “Hi!”

Afterwards, we sent out a survey to see how it went and the feedback was great. On a scale of 1-5 (1 being low, 5 being high), 75% of participants gave it a 4 or 5.

Future plans for this initiative include: Creating a space to post webinar recordings, new sessions to accommodate different time zones, specialized topics, and different languages.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 countries who participated: 


Ads Out of Place?


We want to address an issue we’ve been hearing about regarding Places.

As some of you may have come across this message when editing Places: “The edits you made are pending a staff member approval.” This appears because the place is part of an ad campaign.

Naturally, some errors are made when adding a large number of Places to the map. As always, our community is super fast to respond and help. With that in mind, we’re working on improving the response process.

When you see this message, our Ad-ops team is notified and handles your feedback. We recently made some improvements to the approval process, and are working to make it even more efficient. These changes should help our response time and accuracy.

Thanks for all your feedback and help - keep it coming!

Unholy's B-weekly Meme


Unholy just got some inside info about version 4, and he's not keeping it to himself


Angola Stepping up!


Angola just became the first African country with an official coordinator who speaks the local language, and is in touch with local editors.

Since Vincio60 from Italy and alexnrocha from Brazil started working in Angola, we saw a rise in every parameter. The Italian and Brazilian communities have both worked hard with local editors and we expect to hear more great news from the mappers over there.

Waze HQ Spotlight: wonderlerm!


Karen brings two important assets to the team: Content expertise and a proper American (err….New York) accent.


And now for some mellow Billy Joel:



That's it for now!

Let us know what you think... and stay tuned!


The Next Step in Waze WIki Evolution

Hey Guys, long time no post. In this issue of the Bi-weekly we'll take about the rise of Wazopedia, the new and improved Waze wiki. We'll also tell you about the new Waze Twitter tool - Unusual Traffic! And in the Waze staff exposed section: adriansinger of LATAM fame.

Wazeopedia Rising


As some of you may have read, the Waze Wiki is getting a pretty significant makeover. Led by a team of Wiki Masters with some restructuring help from Waze Staff, the new Wiki will have improved searchability for all communities, a true Global knowledge-base, and a new look!

Check out the initial design here:


What are some of the big changes?

So glad you asked! Right now we have one Wiki “instance” - meaning all the content for the Waze Wiki is under one URL. That leads to some very frustrating search results…


To address this issue - Waze Staff is working on a restructuring of the way Wikis are accessed on the back-end.

There will be a Global Wiki and Local Community Wikis. Each Wiki will be accessed through it’s own unique URL and will connect to each other through inter-wiki links (similar to how Wikipedia works).

Each community will have their own Wiki and will be able to manage the content as they see fit. The Wiki Masters will oversee the edits for the Global Wiki.

Currently, the Wiki Master group is working on cleaning up the content for the Global Wiki and preparing a list for export. A big part of this is separating the English content to allow the Global articles to apply to a true global audience. Until now, much of the English content has U.S. specific information.

They are also working on removing most of the App-related content from the Wiki and evaluating that content for addition to the Help Center, where appropriate. The decision to do this was made by the Wiki Masters and supported by Waze staff.

Some other pages are getting pretty extensive makeovers - like the awesome Glossary that PesachZ and GizmoGuy just published.

The next step is for local communities to review their content for transfer to their new local Wiki. The Wiki Masters are working on instructions for this and will share with all who are interested in contributing.

For more information, or if you are interested in joining your local Wiki team, contact Wazeopedia@google.com and check out the Wiki Masters Forum - only members can post, but all can view the discussions.

Thanks!

We're Jammin' (on Twitter)


We just launched a cool new service on Twitter - the Waz Unusual Traffic tool. Basically, we're talking about a set of accounts in 50 metros across the world, tweeting about heavy traffic jams and other unusual road conditions.

How does it work? Automatically. Whenever the system recognises traffic conditions that are radically different than the historical data, a tweet is sent. Currently only in English, but we’re planning on launching more languages and more metros in the near future.

Read all about it here, and don't forget to retweet :)

Unholy's Bi-weekly meme


Unholy is unfazed by the recent rumours of WME issues.


Waze HQ Spotlight: adriansinger!


He's the most laid back community manager, and you can't miss that beard 


And here is one of his favorite songs:




That's it for now!

Let us know what you think... and stay tuned!


Mega MapRaid - The Real Stroy! and shirapashu exposed

Hey guys,

This week we have a special post about the massive MEGA MapRaid (now known as an MMR), with tons of images and other great stuff. Of course, that’s not all...Unholy pays homage to the brave beta testers, and Shira - the community manager for UK, France, and more - tells all.

Mega MapRaid - the Amazing Truth


It all began with Orbitc. He reached out to Unholy with a simple wish: To have a global event where editors from all over the world can edit together, mentor one another, gain experience, and have a great time.

And so, after coordinating with Unholy -  it became a reality. Against all odds, 603 (!) editors from all over the globe stormed the US. They went to work in Louisiana, Baltimore, Washington D.C and the Bay Area. New Jersey was added along the way, and fun ensued.

The results were amazing! A huge increase in map quality, a massive amounts of places handled and map problems solved. The direct result: a big improvement for Wazers throughout the U.S.

Thanks to Orbit’s leadership and tireless work before and during the MMR (the guy never sleeps...), along with Champs, mentors, and map editors worldwide - the MMR achieved more than just a better map -  It connected people across the globe and gave them a chance to participate in a major editing event.

Thank you all for making it happen! It goes to show that the Waze community is unstoppable! GO TEAM GO!

Here's the hall of fame of the entire MMR. For specific results in every state/region, take a look here



And for a better idea of what it did to the map, check out these before and after heat maps in Louisiana. Red color means these segments were not edited for over two years. Green means edited in the last month.


Before:


After:



Unholy's Bi-weekly meme


Unholy salutes the brave heroes behind the scenes, those who carry the burden for us all:





Waze HQ Spotlight: Shirapashu!


A dedicated mother and shopper, always smiling, and of course there's this.


And here's Shira's favorite:




That's it for now!

Let us know what you think... and stay tuned!

MapSir Exposed! and the Mighty Webinars

Hey guys,

You asked for it, you got it! A new section exposing Waze staffers! Filled with hidden secrets, hobbies, pastimes, and their lovely faces. To start if off - Irad, or MapSir.

Also announcing a new initiative, as part of our plan to help newbie editors...Webinars. And since meetup season is starting, we're visiting communities all over the world to discuss all things Waze.

Let's begin….

Waze HQ Spotlight: MapSir!


A master mapper, a hard rocker (sort of) and the toughest man on the community team:


Oh, the rock band? Check out one of their hits:



Educating New Editors - the Webinar


We want to make sure joining the Waze community is easy for everyone. In order to do that, we've been working on improving the resources available to newcomers. Our aim is to create a set of tools that’ll help new editors learn the basics of map editing and encourage them to connect with their local Waze community and sync on local rules.

Together with the Wiki editing community we’re working to improve the Wiki (a project that's sure to help both newbies and veterans). And now we want to push forward with another initiative...drumroll...the Webinar!

Our first webinar is intended as a pre-mentorship step - a sort of orientation for new editors who have just discovered the WME and may not even be familiar with the Community. It’ll include a general explanation of the WME, how Community at Waze is set up, and prepare users for the localized guidelines as determined by their local communities.

The webinar platform will allow us to invite and broadcast a live presentation to a large number of editors simultaneously. The idea is to hold two-three sessions monthly which span different time-zones. We’ll post the schedule directly to our website (exact location TBD) and allow users to register for a time that suits them. Once we understand the popularity of these webinars, we can expand accordingly.

Of course, we’ll keep you in the loop as this revs up.

Unholy's Bi-weekly Meme


We've been hard at work on fixing water and coastline related issues. Unholy is troubled by this:



Meetup Season is Upon Us


It's on! Latvia and Estonia were the first. Then came Columbia and Costa Rica, and right around the corner are Brazil, France, and the US.

Waze staffers are globe trotting, meeting community members, sharing future plans, getting important feedback, drinking moderately, and having fun.

We’ll see a lot of you soon!  And if you want a meetup or Waze Cafe in your neck of the woods, let us know.

That's it for now!

Let us know what you think... and stay tuned!
  



A new power is rising in South East Asia

Hey guys! Learn what the mysterious and all powerful team S.E.A is, check out what's happening in Thailand, see unholy's take on....  and check out kdevries from the Netherlands.

Team S.E.A Is Growing


There's a new member in team S.E.A - Singapore! Led by Guardian4ngel, the local community has stepped up it's game and became self managed and effective, and now a member of the South Asian power that is team S.E.A.

What is team S.E.A you ask? It consists of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and now Singapore. The team was created due to the great cooperation between the large communities in South East Asia (S.E.A, get it?). Seeing that working together was beneficial for all, the team was created, pushing forward new projects, meeting up and sharing info.

In the last couple of months editors from team S.E.A have been working together in Thailand, helping the new community there map the country and build itself. The improvement in the map is already evident, and we anticipate great things for our Thai friends.

Unholy's Bi-weekly Meme


About that issue with map problems? Well it's interfering with unholy's beauty sleep.



Wazer Spotlight: kdevries, Netherlands and global champ


What do you do when not editing maps?
Coding and mapping!


I am a teacher at a vocational school for students between the ages of 16 and 20. I teach programming languages like C# and I also try to teach them how to handle databases. A lot of my students get their driving licenses while they're taking my classes, so I try to convince them that Waze is the solution for their navigation needs.

What car do you drive?

At the moment I drive a VW Passat 1.9 TDI Combi from 2007. I have to share it with my wife and two sons. My daughter will get her driver's license soon. So there will be even more arguments over who can/may drive the car. I drive around 30,000 km’s a year; so most of the times I win :)

How long have you been a Wazer?

Since October 2011. I was looking for a good free navigation app. During my search I stumbled upon Waze. While the map for the Netherlands was not nearly as good as it is now, it took me where I wanted to go.

How did you get hooked on Waze?

I soon discovered that I could improve the map by editing it myself. In the “good old days" there was a lot to edit in the region where I drive. So I started to add roads and connecting them. I made my beginners mistakes: e.g. I made sure that my neighbourhood was not reachable anymore. Because there were no daily map updates like today, it took a month before the situation was resolved. I wanted advice on a difficult editing problem and so I became active in the forums. I was surprised by the willingness of the other wazers to help.

What's your favorite part about the community?

That you get to know a lot of people from all over your country and all over the world. I like our Waze meetings where I can meet my fellow wazers in real life.

...And the worst part.

That map editing is so addictive that there were periods I spent all my spare time on Waze and got complaints from my wife and children.

What's the funniest Waze story that happened to you?

A month ago I drove with a colleague to a meeting. His car had a “sophisticated” built in navigation app. I turned Waze on, as I always do. Because of heavy traffic Waze advised a re-route. His system didn’t. I told him he'd better take the Waze route. He didn’t want to listen: “A free app could never be better than the system of my car”. So we arrived an hour late. With the waze route we would have been on time.

What's your best Waze tip for newcomers?

Always drive with the Waze App on. It is the easiest way to contribute to the Waze community. And for Wazers who want to edit the map, I advise to read and reread the Wiki and use the forum if you encounter any problem.

What do you listen to when driving your car (aside from the Waze app messages, of course)?

In the morning when I drive  to work, I prefer a news station on the radio. In the evening on my way home I listen to music; mostly classical music. My favorite composer is Bach. I listen a lot to his cantatas.

I also like rock music from the fifties, sixties and seventies.



That's it for now!

The next post is going to be completely different...  stay tuned!