How to fix complex freeways / motorways with intersections with multiple levels, bridges, and complex ramps
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NOTE: This information below was key to the early editing days of Waze, especially in countries that did not have base map data already present. Today nearly all locations have the major roads mapped and this information is not as relevant.
A key to getting your local Waze community up and running is making Waze useful as soon as possible. While you might really enjoy seeing your particular side street on the map, most potential users are most interested in their own routes, and the motorways (”freeways” in some countries), are where most of us are going to be using this wonderful new application, so getting them up and mapped should be most mappers top priority! Here’s a few useful tips!
- Don’t skimp on the carriageways. You might be tempted at first to just draw a line down the middle of your motorway and make it a “two-way” road. This really isn’t a good idea. On most motorways, the distance between the two sides is big enough to cause Waze to want to draw “new” roads alongside the existing ones, and later when you get to making on-ramps (”slip roads” in some countries), it’s going to be a bit easier if you have two separate roadways as well.
- Try to avoid lots of tiny segments. Sometimes GPS reception isn’t what it should be, and you might be tempted to join up lots of tiny segments to eventually build a motorway carriageway. There’s a few problems with this that you might not notice until too late… Later on you’re going to want to make sure all your segments “connect up” by using Waze’s “highlight connectivity” function. If you have lots of tiny segments, this will be VERY tedious – having larger segments will be better. At first, you might decide to just make one BIG segment, but you’ll eventually need to split this into smaller ones when you start making on and off ramps.
- Use “ramps” When it’s time to make those on-ramps/off-ramps (or “slip roads”), go ahead and use the road type “ramp” to show them. The best way to do this is to first insert a “split” on the motorway right before where an off-ramp splits off from the main road. (I try to make this a LITTLE earlier than the REAL split, because then Waze will announce “turn right!” a few seconds before you really do need to turn right.) Do the same thing for the road the ramp joins. Then draw the ramp, if it isn’t already there. But then the part that’s most important: You need to “connect” up the ramps. To do this, highlight the segment of the road you go onto the ramp FROM, then highlight the ramp itself while holding down the ‘CTRL’ key. Both segments will now be lit up, and you can then choose “connect roads in order of selection”. This tells Waze that it’s actually possible to go from the first road to the segment. (It might LOOK like you can do it on the screen, but Waze doesn’t assume anything unless you actually TELL it they’re connected!)
- Use ‘levels’ When there’s interchanges/junctions, there’s going to be elevated bridges. Waze is pretty good about knowing where bridges go over roads, but Waze also tries to automatically adjust roads that aren’t drawn quite right to match reality, and may “connect” roads that shouldn’t be. This might mean that it might try to join one part of your interchange with another one – and GPS trails aren’t particularly accurate when cars are changing direction at high speed, so this tends to happen a lot at some interchanges. One way you can prevent this is to edit the bridges and change their “level”. What you’re telling Waze is that the bridge is actually ABOVE the main road, so they shouldn’t “connect”. In complicated intersections you might have LOTS of levels of bridges. Don’t worry about getting it exactly right – as long as each bridge has a different number from a road it crosses over, Waze will do the right thing.
- TEST it… After you think you’ve got your junction mapped, test it… Use the “highlight connectivity” function, and start by clicking on the motorway somewhere on a segment that is approaching the junction. There should be “green highlights” on the next segment “downstream” from the one you clicked. You can then click on the green-highlighted segment, and see which segments are connected to it. When you are done, you should be able to completely connect from one side of the motorway to all the other places that junction allows you to go to in real life. Then you need to wait 48 hours for things to update in Waze’s databases, but after that, you should try testing your work using the “live map” feature of the website. Use the “directions” features and see if Waze actually now ‘knows’ that the motorway is there, and that the ramps are all joined correctly.
- Label it… Naming those carriageways is useful. Waze’s gurus have said that they want us to label the carriageways with “directionality” – which means that instead of calling a road “M23″, you might label it something like “M23 (S)” so that people know that if you are stuck in traffic, they know you’re stuck on the “southbound” carriageway, but that the other side of the road might be OK.
- Enjoy! It requires a little patience, but it’s really worth it when you can use your client to route you from one side of town to the other using the motorway, and gives you a great sense of satisfaction. And the other benefit is that you’re helping other new Wazers to see what our new toy can do, and before you know it, your local motorway will have other Wazers helping give you traffic information too!