US: waze launches free navigation app

waze, Inc., the first free provider of driver-generated maps and real-time road information, has announced the availability of its mobile application in the iTunes App Store. Through a community of drivers, waze harnesses driver-generated data to build road maps and provide real-time traffic information to commuters. Unlike static maps and first-generation traffic networks, waze relies on a community of drivers to both populate the maps and provide daily traffic information. As more and more iPhone users download and use the app, the maps and traffic information will become more robust and accurate over time.

As the waze application runs on a user’s GPS enabled smartphone, it automatically and anonymously sends back GPS points as they drive. This data is used to build and constantly update the road grid, real-time traffic information, driving directions, road changes, traffic flow, and more. This information is collected automatically and anonymously, but drivers can also take a more active role, reporting road events or map inaccuracies easily from their mobile device. Community members can help solve these inaccuracies and manually update the map itself via the web at

waze was originally launched in Israel early this year, where it is the most widely-used source of traffic information. Over 150,000 have downloaded waze in Israel today, which represents twenty percent of smartphone users in the country. waze began alpha testing in the US in May 2009 and released on the Android platform in June and is in the process of growing its community of drivers. The iPhone application will make the service available for millions of potential community members who have not yet had the opportunity to participate in the drivers’ community.

Waze will soon announce availability of the application on additional mobile platforms.

See press release here.

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