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The Road Maps

The Waze map was started in many countries by importing publicly available road data. This data was fairly accurate in geometry, but could be dated. It also did not include some details vital for a navigation system such as permitted travel direction, and distinctions between driveable roads and non-driveable ways, such as railroads and canals. The imported maps also did not indicate if a junction or bridge was present where roads crossed. Waze defaulted to a junction in all cases, and even though turn restrictions may show as being in place at these junctions, all turns are actually allowed if the segments have never been edited. This set of data was enough to get started, but definitely needed updating and maintenance.

This is where two key aspects of the Waze system come into play:

  1. The web-based map editing tools for Waze users to edit maps of their neighborhoods, cities or other places with which they are familiar.
  2. The collecting of GPS data from Waze users to modify the maps to set road direction and turning permissions at intersections.

Some countries had no data available for their road systems, the maps for these countries must be built from the ground up by Waze users. The maps are created in the web editor using roads recorded in the Waze client and the stored GPS tracks of all Waze users superimposed over available aerial photography.

The Map Editors

Waze currently uses two different map editing interfaces:

  • Waze Map Editor (WME) is the default editor for Waze since September 19, 2011. This editor interface is internally code-named "Papyrus", and was functionally upgraded on April 9, 2012. There are currently three different servers managing the maps of the world. Be sure to log into the appropriate server when making edits to a particular part of the world. You can use the same username on all servers, but your editing points are managed separately by each server.
  • Cartouche is the original editor used prior to the new Waze Map Editor. It is still available until all necessary functions are replicated in Waze Map Editor. The Cartouche editor is sometimes referred to as "old Cartouche," and as with the new editor, there are currently three different servers managing the maps of the world. Be sure to log into the appropriate server when making edits to a particular part of the world. You can use the same username on all servers, but your editing points are managed separately by each server.

When editing the Waze maps, please follow the best map editing practice. You should also be aware of known Waze Map Editor issues or missing features and bugs and quirks with Cartouche.

Using either editor, you can add, edit, or delete nearly any object within your editable area. If a road segment is locked by a user with a higher editing level than you, the road, intersection, or turn permissions connected to that road segment cannot be altered unless you chose one of the following:

  • Place a request to the Update Request forums to unlock that segment by giving them a permalink with the segment or segments highlighted and a country manager will unlock it for you.
  • If you are an Area Manager that contains that road segment, then you can override the lock from the higher level user.

Editable Area

Your editable area consists of:

  • A 1-mile radius of any location you have driven with Waze running in the past 3 to 4 months.
  • Areas in which you have requested to be an Area Manager.

Map Editing Quick-start Guide

Learning the best map editing techniques for proper navigation and appearance takes some time and practice, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience too. You can be proud that you are improving the experience for all Waze users. The details in later sections of this page are important for you to learn, but for simple edits, there is a Map Editing Quick-start Guide to get you going quickly.

Accessing the Waze Map Editor (WME)

The Waze Map Editor editor is currently officially supported on the Chrome browser only. It may or may not work on other browsers, but there is currently no official support for issues that might arise.

You can access the map editing page directly using the links above in The Map Editors section, or you can reach it from the Waze homepage as fpllows:

  1. From the Waze homepage select the Login link at the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Select "Live Map" in the main navigation header.
  3. Select "Update Map" located just above the map viewer.

Once logged in, your screen should look something like this:

Papyrus sample post login.png

For the sake of efficiency, you may also wish to bookmark the link directly to the map editor:

Be sure to check out the Map Editing Tips and Hints page for some shortcuts for logging in to the map editor and other great pieces of information to enhance your map editing.

Map Editing Basics

The Waze Map Editor editor was designed to be used without much documentation, but this list will give the quick basics for drawing a new road, roundabout, or landmark

  1. Click the item you want to create under the big + button
    • For a road, click to start drawing, click to add a geometry node as you follow a path, and double-click (or shift-click) to end drawing
    • For a roundabout, click at the center of the roundabout and move the mouse to size it. Click to create it
    • For a landmark, or POI (Point of Interest), click to start the landmark and click as you follow the outline of the area. Double-click to end drawing.
  2. For each object, there are details you need to enter before saving, such as the city, street name, direction and level, or landmark type for landmarks.
  3. Click the Save button

You can also modify or delete existing map objects. You do this by selecting an object, then modifying its geometry, location or properties. What is possible with each object depends on the type of object. The Editing Manual is where you will find all the details necessary to understand all the editor functionality.


  • In the Waze map editor, a permalink is a URL used to take you or someone else directly to a specific map location. It stores and encodes the latitude, longitude and zoom level, visible layers, and any objects such as roads, junctions, or landmarks which should be highlighted and selected.
  • A permalink to your current map editor view, whether you are in Waze Map Editor or Cartouche, is generated and placed in the address bar of your browser by clicking the "Permalink" hyperlink at the bottom-right corner of the map. To copy or share your URL, you can right-click the Permalink directly and copy the link or cut and paste it from the browser address bar.
  • Please note that the permalink is generated every time you change the display of the editor, so if you recover a browser session of the editor, it will revert to the last map location for which you generated a permalink.

Keyboard Shortcuts

For simplicity and accuracy, all keyboard shortcuts are now kept in a single location in the Map Editing-quick Start Guide.

Map Update Timing

Edits made in the online editors do not appear on the LiveMap nor client immediately. Waze has a long-term goal of 24hr update processing, but that isn't happening yet. Please see the Timeline of updating process page for more detail on the various processes Waze runs and expected update timing.

Editing Manual

Google aerial images cannot be used

This section needs to become its own page. Google's terms of use means that Waze cannot use their aerial images.

Those terms of use also apply to you. You cannot use Google's aerial images to edit Waze's maps. In some jurisdictions you may be able to use them as a reference (like looking at a map in a mapbook), but not as an overlay as with the Greasemonkey script Googze.

If you were to do such a thing, it would taint all the work you did and Waze would need to reverse out all your edits. There could be other adverse effects. Waze has already had to remove all the maps for Chile, and other South American countries because the source of the map data was not properly licensed (not Waze's fault).

So do not use Googze as a way of applying Google's aerial images as a replacement for Waze's licensed images when doing map editing.

You may negotiate with officials in your country for access to aerial images that Waze can use. Just be careful not to give the impression that you are acting on behalf of Waze. But as an interested citizen you can speak with local authority, in a local language, to explain the benefits to your country in making aerial images freely available as a public good.

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