From Wazeopedia
Airport sign.png

Airports in the United States range from small non-towered facilities for general aviation up to large international hubs. Large airports are critical destinations for Waze users, due to traffic volume, complexity of roadways and the time-sensitive nature of commercial air travel. Regardless of size, this page will explain how to properly map, name and select stop points for airports and various other places within them, so that Waze users can quickly search and obtain accurate navigation for where they need to be, and so that airports display sensibly on the map. This page only applies to civilian airports; mapping of military airfields is covered under the military base page.

Area creation


Each airport should be drawn as a single area place, covering all airport-managed property including open space, parking lots, runways, taxiways, terminal buildings, control towers, airport tenants, and other structures. This will ensure visibility on the map.


Airports are referred to in various ways, using official names, abbreviated names, acronyms and location identifier codes. Official names are usually long (e.g. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport), so they are often abbreviated colloquially to a few words (e.g. Atlanta Airport) or letters (DIA for Denver International Airport). All airports in the United States have a location identifier assigned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is three alphabetical or alphanumeric characters for public-use airports and four alphanumeric characters for private-use airports. Many public-use airports also have a four-letter location indicator from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In the contiguous United States ICAO prefixes K to the alphabetical FAA identifier of an airport to create its ICAO code. In Alaska, Hawaii and US territories ICAO codes begin with other letters and are not directly related to the FAA identifier. Finally, most airports with commercial passenger operations in the US are assigned a three-letter identifier by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This is often, but not always, identical to the FAA identifier. Since IATA codes are used by airlines in flight schedules and baggage handling, they are the most well-known airport codes.

Primary name

Use the official, long-form name as the primary name of the airport, followed by its IATA code in parentheses. If it doesn't have an IATA code, put the FAA identifier in parentheses. This creates the most straightforward and uniform display on the map, and since airports always occupy a large area, the length of the name does not cause display problems.


  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Ohio University Airport (ATO)
  • Fairfield County Airport (LHQ)
  • Hardin County Airport (I95)

Alternate names

To aid users in searching, add the following as alternate names:

  • The IATA code, if the airport has one. Example:
    • DTW for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • The ICAO code, if the airport has one. Example:
    • KBDU for Boulder Municipal Airport (WBU)
  • The FAA identifier, if it is different from the IATA code. Example:
    • SAW for Sawyer International Airport (MQT)
  • Any commonly used local abbreviation that isn't part of its official name. Examples:
    • DIA for Denver International Airport (DEN)
    • Sea-Tac for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Any former name or names, if the name change was recent and/or the former name is still commonly used. Example:
    • Moisant Field for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

Stop point


The stop point for the airport should be placed as follows:

  • If the airport has one terminal accessible by one road, place the stop point at the terminal.
  • If the airport has one entrance road and multiple terminals or one terminal with different roads leading to access for arrivals and departures, place the stop point at a location before any of the individual paths branch from the entrance road.
  • If the airport has multiple entrance roads for multiple terminals, place the stop point at a location that is most helpful to the most passengers at the airport.

Other information

In the general tab, link all results from external providers that pertain to the airport in general. If the airport has just one terminal, also link external results that pertain to the terminal itself. Fill in all other relevant information, such as address, website and phone number.

Differentiated terminal places


If the airport has differentiated access for arrivals and departures, or if it has multiple terminals, additional point places should be added for these destinations. This is especially important when the arrivals and departures are on different levels. Ensure the access roads for these different levels are mapped separately, otherwise the correct navigation will not be given. Adding separate point places enables users to obtain more specific navigation instructions. Name these places using the airport code in its primary name followed by a descriptor in title case. Examples include:

Condition Examples of additional point place names
A single terminal with separate arrival and departure levels or locations on the same road CMH Departures CMH Arrivals
Multiple terminals each with common arrival and departure areas SFO Terminal 1 SFO Terminal 2 SFO Terminal 3
Multiple terminals with separate arrivals and departure levels or locations on the same road JFK Terminal 1 Arrivals
JFK Terminal 1 Departures
JFK Terminal 2 Arrivals
JFK Terminal 2 Departures
JFK Terminal 3 Arrivals
JFK Terminal 3 Departures
Combinations of the above DFW Terminal 1 Arrivals
DFW Terminal 1 Departures
DFW Terminal 2 DFW International Terminal
These example are fictitious and do not reflect reality at these airports.

Use of the airport code is important, since using a longer name could cause the descriptor to be cut off in the search results display. If an airport does not have an IATA code, use the FAA identifier in these names. Alternate names can include other names for the airport, along with the descriptor. Again add all relevant information, and link external results that pertain to these specific terminals or destinations.

Car rental

If car rentals are offered at the airport, identify if it is part of a single unified rental facility or individual facilities and follow the appropriate instructions below.

Unified facility

If rental companies share a common airport-owned facility, it's best to add that as one place and link external results for each of the rental companies there. However, the system will not permit linking more than 3-4 depending upon what else is already linked to the unified place. In that case, in addition to the main common facility, create individual point places for each separate rental company.

Further, if the rental counters are at a different place from the car return, add separate place points.

Name the car rental facility or return in a similar way to the terminals, using the airport code followed by a descriptor, for example DFW Rental Car Facility. If there is an associated parking lot, add it according to the guidance on parking lots.

See point place examples for more information.

Individual facilities

For separate company facilities located within or in the vicinity of the airport, the airport code may be appended at the end of the name after a hyphen, for example Avis - IAD. This applies even to car rental facilities that aren't within the airport area but provide shuttle service from the airport to their rental office. Add places where each airport-associated car rental facility is located. If there is an associated parking lot, add it according to the guidance on parking lots. Further, if all such separate facilities are located in a common area such as on a single stretch of road, add a single "rental car return" point place as defined in the previous subsection.

Further, if the rental counters are at a different place from the car returns, add separate place points for each.

For companies that merge and keep both brand names but serve the public from a single location, create a single point place for that address named with the combination of both companies and add two additional alternate names with the separate brand names. Be sure to link the 3rd party sources for both brands (if present). See this Thrifty/Dollar example.

See point place examples for more information.

Point place examples

For the various combinations above, use the following naming guidelines to create individual place points named as follows:

Location of
Rental Car Counter and Rental Car Return
Rental Center
Common Facility Separate Facilities
Single location for
rental counter and
car return
with less than 3-4 agencies IAD Rental Car Facility1, 2 Avis - LAS
Hertz - LAS
National - LAS
with more than 3-4 agencies SFO Rental Car Facility2
Avis - SFO
Hertz - SFO
National - SFO
Separate locations for rental counter and car return Rental counter with less than 3-4 agencies KAE Rental Counter1 Avis rental counter - JFK
Hertz rental counter - JFK
National rental counter - JFK
with more than 3-4 agencies DEN rental counter
Avis rental counter - DEN
Hertz rental counter - DEN
National rental counter - DEN
Car return with less than 3-4 agencies KAE Rental Car Return1 Avis rental car return - JFK
Hertz rental car return - JFK
National rental car return - JFK
with more than 3-4 agencies DEN Rental Car Return
Avis rental car return - DEN
Hertz rental car return - DEN
National rental car return - DEN

1Directly link the external sources for each agency to the main place point (when less than 3-4).
2Add an alternate name with AIRPORT_CODE Rental Car Return.


Add airport parking facilities in according with the parking lot page. Take note of the airport shuttle service and check this option for lots where a shuttle is provided.

Other associated places

Other places for businesses should be added at the airport, such as hotels, restaurants and fixed-base operators. Hotels usually have a local addendum to their name, which is especially important to use for airport hotels. If a business is located in a terminal before security, it can be mapped, but add "(inside XXX)" to the end of the name, where XXX is the airport code. If a business is located past security, it should not be mapped except to clear up confusion from an external place that shows up in Waze search. In that case, add the place to Waze and name it with (past security XXX), being sure to link the corresponding external place. This will help Wazers not to select it as a navigation destination.

Roads and runways

These elements are outside the scope of airport place guidance. See the articles covering road types, runways and pedestrian paths for more information on mapping road segments and fixing routing problems within airports.