The Waze Map is updated by a large community of editors around the world with varying levels of experience. As such, there are a few systems in place to protect and uphold the quality of the Waze map from both intentional and unintentional harm.
Locks (aka - road ranks or segment locks) are the first line of defense when protecting the Waze Map from damaging edits. There are several different types of locks for various aspects of the map, they are each explained below.
- To request an unlock and edit an item locked above you rank, see the Editing restrictions article.
- The user lock cannot be set higher than the user's own level.
- User cannot change a lock-level that is set to higher than their own.
Every road segment has two lock values in the Waze Map Editor:
- Automatic lock rank
- Manual rank (aka User lock rank)
Automatic lock rank
This is the default calculation. In each country, Waze manually changes some of the parameters according to:
- Community size
- Management methods
- Map maturity
- Road network characteristic
- Road Weight (see below)
- A road’s weight reflects how busy that segment is and how long it's been on our map. Waze then divides all the segments in the country to half percentiles, removing some very highly weighted segments (because they significantly shift the results). Traffic locks are applied for countries where it's relevant and required. Waze works with the local editing community to understand the correct traffic lock parameters. After a period of beta-testing, the parameters are made live in the WME.
- Last edit date does not influence the algorithm
It is unlikely for a segment to be degraded in the automatic lock system - it could only happen if many segments are suddenly added to that country and are heavily used.
Example parameters (varies by country)
Lowest 97.5% of the segments in the country - are available for everyone to edit (= no automatic lock)
98% - 98.5% - Rank 2+
98.5% - 99% - Rank 3+
99% - 99.5% - Rank 4+
99.5% - 100% - Rank 5+
The calculation process occurs about once/month in an effort to keep all locks up to date.
Manual lock rank
Use manual lock if the automatic road rank seems insufficient.
- There could be some relatively exotic cases such as poor cell coverage where the Automatic Lock Rank algorithm will not be effective. Since the servers don't know how heavily those segments are used. In these cases the manual locking system is the solution.
Manual locks can used to override automatic locks for unlock requests.
Every place has only one lock value is in the WME; Manual rank (aka user lock rank). Places should be locked by editors after a place has been approved and checked for accuracy.
Every camera on the Waze Map is automatically locked at the rank of the last editor who approved the camera. You can not unlock a camera to a lower rank, but you can lock a camera to higher rank.
To lock a camera to your rank, make the camera unapproved, approve the camera again, then save. This will make you the last editor of the camera, and it will be locked at your rank.
There are a number of editing actions which are restricted based on rank or other parameters. Most of these are already covered in their respective sections of the wiki, and are listed here for reference.
The throttling system is a mechanism that detects anomalies in number of edits per time frame and prevents to accumulate edits and gain points for massive edits. While many scripts are used for positive additions to the map, some scripts cause specific harm with the goal of accumulating points quickly. Scripts used for massive edits are allowed, but may not always result in the rewarding of points.
The system was put in place to prevent cheaters from unfairly racking up points with massive edits. Waze is aware of the value that some scripts have to the map, but also recognize that some scripts are used simply to gain points. The throttling system is in place to allow massive edits, but deter cheating.
How throttling works
Waze has many thresholds for different types of massive editing activity. Once a limit is reached, the next round of edits results in no additional points. The transaction is followed by a time frame during which edits remain uncredited.
Types of editing thresholds
Different thresholds exist for each object type (segments, MP, UR, places etc). Some are calculated per minute, some per hour and some per day. The exact numbers are internal and may change occasionally as needed (new scripts, etc).
Please note that the thresholds are high. It is unlikely to reach them when editing manually without using scripts.
What will I see if I’ve reached the limit?
Nothing. This is a backend process and invisible in the UI. Edits will go through, everything will look the same, but points will not be granted.
Will this block me as an editor?
Currently, Waze won't auto-block/lock users due to massive edits. This may change in the future.
Reset after throttling
Currently, it takes a few hours to reset your ability to acquire points after edits have triggered the throttling system. The exact timeframe is internal and may change occasionally.
Throttling vs. Cheating
Waze defines cheating as performing edits to the map that do not add value to unfairly move up in rank. Throttling is one of the current methods we use to identify these types of edits, when done on a massive scale. Not all massive edits equal cheating, and not all throttling is as a result of cheating behavior. The system currently does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” massive editing behavior. Contributing to the map with the use of scripts and massive editing is allowed, however, may trigger the throttling system.
Regression checkers is a tool currently in the WME beta, which further assists in protecting the quality of the map. Regression checker warns editors of edits which might harm the map and/or cause map issues. This tool does not work in conjunction with the throttling system, but is an additional layer of protection to overall map quality.
How the regression checker works
Every save is analysed against a list of possible issues, recent drives in an area, and current road structure. Waze estimates how correct or risky an edit is and gives it a risk score.
Ex: A very large change in a busy highway which cannot work with current driving patterns is expected to have a very high risk score, while a small change in a side street which seems to comply with current driving patterns will have a low risk score.
What the user sees
After each save, the user will see one of three save results: Save succesful - everything is cool. Warning - Potential issue. A list of the issues appears and their locations. The user needs to review the issues and decide if they’d like to move ahead with the edits. Error - Serious potential issue. A list of the issues appears and their locations. The user needs to review the issues and fix them. Only then will they be able to save again.
Effect of ranks
There are different warning and error thresholds for each rank. Higher ranking users are more likely to get 'successful' where a lower ranking user might get a warning and to get a warning where a lower ranking user might get an error.