New Places in WME

Hey everyone. We've got plenty of cool news for you: The launch of places - the next generation of landmarks - in the US was a great step forward. The Indonesian community is working on a real book(!) about Waze in the local language of Bahasa, and we had the first Argentinian meetup, which was a great success.

And last but not least: Paul, AKA spookyx, our Romanian champ, tells us a little about himself. Read on!

It's the Place to Be

Landmarks are no more - instead we now have the next level in their evolution, known as places. The various categories were revised into a tighter, more flexible list, and navigation to a specific place is now easier than ever. 

Ohad already wrote about places here, and this is what you absolutely need to know: 

  • - Places can be either areas (polygons) or points
  • - Area places can have a defined navigation point that the routing will work with - Let's say the entrance to a big park
  • - Each place can have a defined street / house number
  • - New categories - each place can have multiple categories, and new more useful categories have been defined

    Currently places are live in the US, and will be added to the rest of the world soon.

    Waze - Read the Book

    Our friends in Indonesia blew our minds with this one: some of the leading community members got together and decided to publish a book about Waze. It's an unofficial guide in Bahasa, the local language, designed to help users get the most out of the app.

    Chris, our Indonesian champ, and the people behind the book say they met a lot of people who use the app but are not aware of how to get the benefit of most of the basic features. The book's goal is to change that. 

    What about changes in the app? Chris isn't worried. "The app's goal stays the same - 'outsmarting traffic together', and in case of big changes we'll publish a revised edition".

    The Argentinian Meetup

    The first Argentinian meetup took place on March 29 in Buenos Aires, and was a cool and fun. 13 community members, Among them a married couple who share the same user name, met each other and some of the Waze team for a day of interesting presentations, talks and great food. The couple told the group about their work method - he drives, she reports and maps.

    The community members discussed best editing practices, specific challenges in Argentina, and did a lot of mingling - after all, for many of them this was their first meeting face to face. 

    Wazer spotlight: 

    spookyx, Romanian champ and coordinator 

    What do you do when not editing maps?

    Paul, ready to shoot
    Well, I have a very busy life and I am involved in a lot of activities, including many non-profit ones (some part of governmental organisations). Taking care of Waze in Romania (editing maps, translating, providing support to users, beta testing and developing new tools, like WazeBotRo) is actually my second job. My primary job is the business I am running along with someone from the US. We manufacture electronic devices used in the alternative medicine field.

    Which car do you drive?

    My daily car is a 2006 Citroen C4. I got some mileage. In my spare time, if I do not edit maps, I have a 2002 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport heavily modified for off-roading. Both cars are shielded by Waze stickers on all sides.

    How long have you been a Wazer? 

    Shielded by Waze
    I have discovered Waze in 2009 but became a serious Wazer in 2010 when I understood what it was and how it works -  and that it was needed in Romania, where Waze was basically non-existent.

    How did you get hooked on Waze?

    I discovered Waze while using a Windows Mobile 6.5 device. Later, in the summer of 2009, I started with an Android device and enough internet traffic for it as well (it was expensive back then). I was looking for a good solution for GPS navigation that was able to provide real time traffic data and reports as well. TMC was non-existent at that point, so was Waze, and, frankly, even today, TMC is very poor in Romania, whereas Waze is the only complete solution. I was and still am a radio guy that was getting traffic info & reports through CB radio, mostly from trucks... but getting traffic info inside a city is hard.

    What's your favorite part about the community?

    What I like about the community is that it allows us to actually not just communicate between us (the users), but also with the Waze staff, which is a great advantage over other apps. Even though there are still issues, and things do not happen as fast and exactly as we want them, we can at least be in touch with everyone, and that makes us feel like a big family, and that we are working towards a common goal, even if we see different paths.

    ..And the worst part.

    The worst part of it is still to come. There are many aspects to be improved, I see many great things along the way. The worst part is, as in a big family, everyone might have different opinions, might see different paths for getting things done, and it's hard to make everyone happy.

    What I see as something that still needs improvement is for us (champs/top users) or you (the Waze staff) to be able to respond to users in the app stores (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone). That's where you can find new users that might need answers, guidance and usually that is the first place they would stop by to ask a question when rating the application, and this has to be addressed. That implies having trust-worthy top-users do that, for every major language, or have an employee do it. As a leader of a community that tries to promote Waze in my country, I am often asked "who are you". Since I'm not an official representative for Romania, it makes things a little hard when I try to talk about Waze to some big names (for example getting Vodafone/Orange to embrace Waze and benefit from it as well)

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

    Well here's a funny story that happened to my sister. She was followed in traffic by a wazer who wanted to ask her - and did, at a traffic light - where she got the Waze sticker from, because he and his friends want Waze stickers. Since then I have given away dozens and dozens of stickers and it's funny to catch them in traffic sometimes. I have even received from someone I didn't know, a friend of a friend, a picture, through Facebook, of me and my car and the Waze sticker, while in a traffic jam. :) Isn't that funny?

    What's your best Waze tip for newcomers?

    Well, especially for new Wazers in Romania, my tip is: Keep using Waze, daily, even if it seems that there are not many users in your area or even if you think you know the way. Waze knows it all, every day, every different minute. It will help you when you need it most. You help others by using it. and they help you. Statistically speaking, the more users there are, the smaller your chance to get stuck in traffic.

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

    I mostly like listening to soft and chill out music. One of my favourite performers is, still, Dido and to name a song from her, I would go for "Thank You"...  so Thank You Waze for being there everyday and making my day better.
    "I want to thank WAZE for giving me the best day of my life
    Oh, just to be with WAZE is having the best day of my life."

    That's it for now! 

    As always, suggestions and questions are welcome!

    Stay tuned & have a great year!

    Safe driving!


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