waze has announced the public beta of its mobile application for Android users, who are invited to download the application at the Android Market.
Through a community-based approach, waze harnesses driver-generated data to build navigable road maps and provide real-time information to commuters on the most optimal route to their destination as well as the latest road conditions, traffic updates, street closures, speed traps and more. The application first opened as a private alpha in San Francisco, and is now available nationwide to all with an Android phone.
As the waze application runs on a user’s smartphone, it automatically and anonymously sends back GPS points as they drive. This data is used to build and constantly update the road grid, driving directions, road changes, traffic flow, and more. waze also uses aggregated driving speed data to determine traffic jams and other changes in road conditions.
All of this information is collected passively, but drivers can also take a more active role, reporting road problems and map inaccuracies easily from their mobile device; more extensive map editing is done via the waze website. The waze map platform is soon to open APIs to allow developers to build other features and applications that leverage the waze-generated collection of live map data.