Editing restrictions

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There are three restriction types that affect an editor's ability to change the map:

  • Driven / editable area - based on map editors' experience
  • Manual lock - applied to objects by map editors to prevent adjustments from less experienced editors
  • Automatic lock - applied because of a system driven feature or requirement

Any of the three restriction types can restrict an editor from modifying an object on the map.

The locks help ensure that important roads and other objects are not accidentally (or intentionally) modified and disrupt traffic flow for all the client app users in that area.

Restriction types

Editable area (driving area, management area)

In real edit mode (logged in), you can make changes within your editable area. Your editable area consists of:

  • The roads you have driven recently (see note below).
  • Areas within a certain distance of those roads. How far this distance extends depends on your editing rank.
  • Areas in which you are the Area Manager. You can edit your assigned area, even if you have not driven a road nearby recently.

You can highlight your editable area on the map by turning on the layer for editable area.

An object is editable if any portion of it is inside one of your editable areas, subject to any further restrictions covered in the editing restrictions page.

Recent drives
Waze records your drives when it is operating with or without navigating to a destination while your device has constant GPS and GSM/3G/4G network connectivity. You can see a history of those drives in the editor. Make sure you have nothing selected, and click the Drives tab in the side panel.

Short drives are usually added to the drives list almost immediately. Longer drives may take a day or two to appear.

After a certain period of time, these drives expire. They may still show in your drives list, but Waze will no longer display the drive details, unless there is a more recent drive. This timing may not coincide directly with the expiration of your editable area, noted below.

You can tell the difference between recent drives and expired drives in the Drives panel. Recent drives are a clickable link which will show the path of the drive. Expired drives show the summary (date, elapsed time, length), but you can't click them.

Expiration
Editable area gained by a drive expires 90 days after the date of the drive or on the last day of the third month after the drive, whichever is later. An area manager appointment could also be revoked after 90 days of inactivity.

Lock level

There are 7 locking levels for objects (1 through 6 and Staff). The locking levels correspond to the editor's rank measured by their editing rank on their statistics window. The objects can be road segments, junction boxes, enforcement camera, map comments, or places (point place, area place, or residential point places)

An unlocked object has a lock rank of 1 and can be edited by any editor rank. Objects can be locked at any rank up to and including the rank of the adjusting editor. Editing an object requires the lock rank of that object be equal to or less than the rank of the editor. A Staff locked object cannot be modified by any editor and requires a special unlock request process discussed below. Some objects are locked to levels by certain attributes as discussed below.

Segment lock

A segment may be locked either manually or automatically. This process ensures more important roads and highways are not accidentally altered by less experienced editors (unless assisted by a more experienced editor to provide an unlock and to check the work prior to relocking the segment(s)).

A lock on a segment restricts:

  1. Segment editing ability (name changes, node changes, adding junctions, adding/editing house numbers or speed limits, etc.)
  2. Automatic adjustments (changes made by the server when it identifies problems in the map).

Additional details are provided in the Segment lock effects section below.


Manual segment lock

All rank 2 and above editors have the ability to manually lock a segment. This type of lock is manually applied by a higher-ranked editor to a particular segment of road that needs to be protected from accidental change or vandalism. The more important the road, the more likely it is to be locked.

In the past, some segments were locked for other reasons that no longer exist, but the segments do not get unlocked unless they are edited again and an editor lowers the lock level. An example would be there was a configuration change that did not have GPS traces or updated aerial/street view photos. The road segment(s) might have been raised to prevent tampering by a well meaning but unknowing editor, who would undo the correct configuration.

Also, in the early days of WME there was a problem where locked segments would follow the rank of the last editor who touched them and, as the editor increased in rank, the segment would increase in lock level. This is no longer the case, but there are some segments that previously increased in lock level and have remained high for no apparent reason. These segments can be reduced in lock level as needed.

Automatic segment lock

There are several different automated locks that may affect a segment.


Traffic lock
At this time, traffic locks are disabled in the USA because the leadership team has requested a feature be added to traffic locks that enables AMs to edit segments with a traffic lock set above their rank (but not manual locks above their rank).


A traffic lock is an automatically-applied editing lock for a road segment. A lock is applied by the Waze servers to any road segments having a high volume of traffic traversing it. The lock rank is the same as with manual locks.

Roads with low volumes of traffic have a rank 1 lock, which is really no lock at all, because the lowest editor rank is also 1. Roads with somewhat more traffic are locked at rank 2.

The busiest roads -- generally, the top 10% traveled roads in an area -- are locked at rank 5, so that only rank 5 or 6 editors can edit them.

Generally, rank 3 or 4 should be able to edit about 90% of the roads in their areas, unless manually locked by a senior editor (see below).

Editors with rank 5 can edit nearly all of the roads and rank 6 can edit 100% of them in their editable area, except for any roads locked by Waze staff.

Road closure lock

When a road is closed through WME by a real time closure, it cannot be edited by any rank editor until the closure(s) is removed.

Currently, only rank 3 editors or above can affect road closures. For situations that require an adjustment be made before the closure has ended, the rank 3+ editor can copy down all the relevant closure information, remove the closure, make the change to the segment, and then return the closure information. If the segment is locked above the editor's rank then they should use the procedure for unlocking objects above their rank covered below to have the road lowered to their rank, if allowed by the local policies. If there already is a real time closure on the segment locked above their editing ability, then the closure must be removed by the senior editor prior to being able to unlock the segment.

Edits that change the road segment's identification number, ex. connecting another road segment to the existing segment not at an existing junction node, will prevent reinstalling the real time closure for longer than 2 days. Therefore edits of these types should be avoided if possible, so that the editor does not have to return after a tile update to restore the longer duration closure.

Junction box lock

A junction box currently prevents some modifications to its underlying segments and nodes regardless of the editor's rank. The junction box would need to be removed before the segments could be edited in these ways. For details on what a junction box prevents, see when to use junction boxes.

Currently only editors of rank 4 or greater can create or edit junction boxes. Use the procedure outlined below to get assistance from a local editor with a high enough rank to edit the junction box.

Routing preference attribute lock

Routing preference attribute locks aspects of that road segment to 4 by default; these lock levels can be raised by a higher ranked editor. Editors of 4 (or higher if the road segment's lock level is raised above the default) must remove the routing preference or headlights required attribute and if necessary lower the lock level for a junior editor to edit the segment.

Headlights required attribute lock

Headlights required attribute locks aspects of that road segment to 4 by default; these lock levels can be raised by a higher ranked editor. Editors of 4 (or higher if the road segment's lock level is raised above the default) must remove the routing preference or headlights required attribute and if necessary lower the lock level for a junior editor to edit the segment.

New city name lock

Creating a new city name in a state is locked to rank 4. Please ask a rank 4 or above editor to "seed" the new city name for use.

If the new city name is replacing all of the segments with a superseded name then contact a Country Manager or Champ to conduct a new city name replacement on applicable segments and addresses within places (point places, area places, and residential point places).

Editor rank lock

Rank 1 and 2 editors have a few additional locks associated with their rank. For restrictions that are based on a "day"; the day resets at 0000 UTC.

Rank 1 locks
  • Cannot delete a segment unless they were the segment's creator
    • Rank 1 editors can still merge two segments to create one new segment, since this is not considered deleting the two original segments
  • Cannot set difficult turns
  • Cannot close a Update Request (UR), unless they were the reporter
  • Cannot add an external provider to a point or area place
  • Can only change the name on 30 road segments a day (300 segments for area managers)
    • Each "Street" name change, whether primary or alternate name, is considered as a separate change. Changing the primary and alternate name on a single road segment counts as two changes towards the daily limit.
Rank 2 locks
  • Cannot create difficult turns
  • Limited to deleting 10 road segments a day (100 segments for area managers)
    • Deleting segments that they created is not limited, but does count toward the limit. Ex. Rank 2 editor can delete 2 road segments created by another editor and then 8 segments that he/she created. The editor can continue deleting segments only if they were the creator. They cannot delete any other segments created by another editor until the next day.

Place lock

A place may be locked either manually, automatically, or by a block to specific users for all places. This locking/blocking process ensures more important places are not accidentally altered by less experienced editors (until they get more experience).

A place with multiple lock conditions noted below will require the highest rank of all the conditions to moderate that PUR (place update request).

A place lock is different from a segment lock in that a place lock can still accept changes from editors ranked below the place lock, but they are submitted as PURs and just need to be reviewed and approved by an editor with the same or greater rank as the place lock.

Manual place lock

Places are manually locked by setting the lock rank on the general tab of the place. This prevents a place from being directly edited in WME by any editor with a lower rank. It also prevents updates from trusted users when locked at a rank 2 or above.

If an editor tries to modify and save a change to a place manually locked above his rank, the change will be saved as a PUR for moderation by a higher rank.

Automatic place lock

New place

Any new place created by an untrusted user will not be added to the client app until it is moderated (approved) by a rank 2 or greater editor.

Flagged (reported problem)
The following conditions must also consider any other concurrent lock status when determining if a moderator can approve a PUR.

Any flagged content reported by a user up to rank 2 will not be accepted until it is moderated (approved to be removed) by a higher ranked editor.

Additionally, places flagged as duplicates, closed, or residential requires moderation regardless of the reporting user's rank, but the moderator can be of any rank. All other flagged images reported by trusted users will be removed without moderation.

If a place is flagged as a duplicate, when the moderator approves the "merge places" it just deletes the duplicate place without transferring any information.
Promotional staff locks

At times, some places will be associated with promotional efforts by the company through Waze. Depending upon what kind of promotion may be in effect, some or all of the related places may be locked by Waze staff, preventing any direct modifications from any editor rank. However, suggested updates can still be submitted through the client app or WME, but they will require staff level moderation (approvals).

Blocked user

If any user/editor, regardless of trust status or rank, submits too many flagged images, new places or updates to places which are rejected, that user may be blocked from further place creations, edits, or updates. This block would impact the editor/user even for unlocked (rank 1) places. The user must contact their RC to understand more about why they were blocked and information on how to get unblocked.

Enforcement camera lock

When an editor approves a tracked enforcement camera (speed or red light), the camera is locked at that editor's rank. An editor with a lower rank may not change / delete the camera; the camera cannot have the lock level lowered.


Segment lock effects

When a segment is locked above an editor's rank, by a manual, traffic, closure, or junction box lock, the editor cannot perform any of the following:

  • Change the properties of the segment (including name, country, state/province, city, road type, elevation, etc.)
  • Change the geometry of the segment.
  • Edit House Numbers on the segment.
  • Change the turns (including U-turns and partial turn restrictions) visible when the segment is selected.
  • Change restrictions on the segment.
  • Set a closure on the segment (unless that segment is within an editor's RTC area).
  • Disconnect a road from the junction node at either end of the segment.
  • Create a new junction anywhere on the segment.

The editor can request an unlock in order to make necessary edits on locked segments.

Even when a segment is locked, the editor can still perform the following:

  • Attach a segment to the junction node at either end of the locked segment.
  • Change the turn restrictions from other segments into the locked segment.
  • Delete an unlocked road that they created from a junction with the locked segment (but remember deleting road segments deletes the traffic data for that segment, and so should generally not be done).

However, there may still be combinations that are not fully accessible, so be sure to check all turn restrictions in all directions and request assistance from a senior editor as required.

Unlocking an object above your rank

This section explains how to deal with various lock types when you need to apply a change to a segment (or connected junction) or other object locked above your rank.

Requesting changes

There are three methods to unlock manual segments and their junctions, or to request an edit change for any type of restriction.


You need to provide specific information to facilitate your change request. Your private message or forum post should contain the following:

  • Subject: the road lock rank and location. Example: rank 4: Anytown, NY - SR-123
  • Additional details to include in the body of the message:
  • Your own "traffic cone rank" -- this gives the unlocking editor some insight into your experience level, and to know the rank reduction needed in case of a manual lock override. Example: I am rank 2.
  • A description of the change you wish to be made. Example: I would like to change mapped road geometry to match physical changes to the road
  • An explanation of the reason for the change. Example: The road has recently been relocated and straightened and causes Waze to think you drove off the road. You can see the problem by turning on GPS tracks in the editor screen. I drive it often enough that I am able to make the change even though the imagery is out of date.

We ask for all this information so that:

  1. The correct editor (one with the appropriate seniority and with responsibility for the correct geographic area) can respond. Putting the road's existing rank and location in the subject allows responding editors to find the requests appropriate for them.
  2. The responding editor can evaluate the request correctly.
  3. The responding editor can figure out the correct action to take (change lock rank so you can make the edit, apply the edit himself directly, ask for more information, ask for more evidence, do more research, or deny the request).

Note that many segments were locked for reasons that are no longer applicable. However, high traffic areas are locked to prevent less experienced editors from making changes that would cause problems or do not follow the generally agreed mapping procedures. The same applies for "tricky situations," where the road configuration is set up somewhat unusually, in order to meet a specific requirement or solve a specific problem. The lock is to help prevent a less knowledgeable editor from changing it to be more "logical" or "more standard," but thereby actually breaking the map.

Also note that if a traffic lock is active, and above your rank, the segment can't be unlocked, and you can't make the edit yourself. That is because Waze does not support overriding traffic locks. However, your request is the same. The responding editor will make the change for you. If that editor needs your assistance to completing the change, he or she will let you know, and if necessary will work out a plan for collaborating on the edit with you.

Staff locks

A special type of manual lock is the Waze Staff Lock. There have been times when a Waze staff member has locked a segment. In many cases, the lock is no longer required. So if you have a reason to edit it, please use this support link to request it to be unlocked. This link is only for staff rank locks.

Automatic adjustments

Much of the road network came from a "base map import" that Waze set up to initially populate each new country's road map. The data on the base map is not always certain, so Waze initially set "soft restrictions" on turns and unknown road diretcionality for many segments. As Waze learns actual traffic patterns on these segments, it may "change its mind" about the restrictions and directionality.

When a user edits the map and alters a previously untouched segment by changing the segment's nodes, turn restrictions, names, etc., the Waze servers will no longer allow itself to automatically alter that segment in the future. Before a user alters a segment, the Waze server could alter road directionality, shape, and turn restrictions based on tracking real-world driving, via GPS inputs.

In the past, the Waze server was known to have changed even segments that had been edited. This lead to many users locking down roads to prevent the Waze server from adjusting the segment. Since the Waze server can no longer alter edited segments, locking roads for this reason is no longer necessary.

If an editor finds a road locked for seemingly no reason, use the procedure described above for changing locked map segments to request a permanent release of the lock.

Area manager

In short, an area manager (AM) does not have restrictions based on areas recently driven. Manual locks still apply, and Traffic locks (once implemented) may or may not apply.

Most users can edit only the segments they have driven and the surrounding areas (see above, Editable areas). This restriction does not apply to an AM within his or her assigned management area(s). Within these areas, an AM may edit any object locked at or below their rank.

However, locks still apply to AMs. An AM cannot edit anything locked to a higher rank than his own.

When an AM encounters a road locked above his rank, he should follow the same procedure as shown above for unlocking segments. In addition, if the regional manager or country manager allows it, he may request action directly from the regional/country manager using whatever channels the they have established for communication.

Note that regional managers and country managers likewise do not have geographic (drive-based) restrictions within their areas.

Applicability of traffic locks

Traffic locks are implemented only in some countries at this time.

At this time, traffic locks are disabled in the USA because the leadership team has requested a feature be added to traffic locks that enables AMs to edit segments with a traffic lock set above their rank (but not manual locks above their rank).

Rank table

The following table provides a quick reference to the various rank related values discussed on this page.

Category Description
Segment - Delete The minimum editor rank to delete a segment not created by themselves is 2.
Real time closure (RTC) The minimum editor rank to create or edit a road closure including adding it to an MTE is 3.
MTE - Create or edit The minimum editor rank to create or edit an MTE is 1.
Difficult turn The minimum editor rank to set a difficult turn is 3.
Headlights required The minimum editor rank to create or edit headlights required attribute is 4.
House Number Force The minimum editor rank to be able to force house numbers to save is 2.
Junction box The minimum editor rank to create or edit a junction box is 4.
Place - Automatically trusted rank The minimum editor rank that does not require multiple edits to be approved before become trusted is 2.
Place - Approved edits to be trusted Currently, an unpublished number of approved edits are required before being trusted.
Place - Add external provider The minimum editor rank to add an external provider to a place is 2.
Place - Flagged content needing approval The highest rank requiring approval on flagged content is 2.
Routing - Preferred or unpreferred The minimum editor rank to change preferred or unpreferred routing on a segment is 4.
City - Add new The minimum editor rank to create a new city (not add an existing city to an object) is 4.
City - Rename The minimum editor rank to change the name of a city (and thus the name shown in the address of every segment and place where it is used) is CM
Update Request (UR) The minimum editor rank to close an Update Request not created by themselves is 2.
Snapshot - Access The minimum editor rank to enter snapshot mode is 4.
Server - Quick select The minimum editor rank to see the server selector on the main WME display is 4.
Area manager The minimum editor rank (typically) required to receive area manager status is 3.

See also