Is Waze a force for good or for evil?

Is Waze a force for good or for evil?

Waze has caused a lot on controversy over it's lifetime, with users wondering whether it's legal to use Waze, whether Waze is accurate or not, whether Waze detects speed cameras or not, and much more.

We went back in time and visited an article from The Register, titled "Cops slammed for spamming Waze to slow drivers down". The whole premise of Waze is users submitting data, but whether this data is accurate or not (for example a Police presence) is down to whether it was randomly place there or not - which anyone can do.

We're going to cover the basics of Waze, and explore whether or not Waze is an ideal solution as both a navigation app, and a speed camera detector app.

What is Waze?

Waze, originally launching in 2006 as FreeMap Israel, is a subsidiary company of Google that specialises in satellite navigation (sat nav), which uses user-submitted data to help you along your journey.

Waze also uses real-time data from other users who're in the local vicinity to determine things such as road conditions, journey time, delays, errors, road layouts and even turn direction.

Waze describe their service as "maps and navigation that are powered by users.".

Is it legal to use Waze?

While it is legal to use Waze and is accepted by the Police as a verified method of satellite navigation, touching your phone and reporting issues yourself, as a driver, is highly illegal and will be classed as operating a mobile device while in control of a vehicle.

Your mobile device should also be non-intrusive of your vision and in a secured holder, out of reasonable reach. If you were to report errors, Waze themselves advise a passenger reports them for you, to avoid any implications.

Is Waze accurate?

Waze is accurate from a navigation point of view. Waze is owned by Google, and we all know Google are the kings of maps, satellite navigation and AR-mapping the world as we know it into a digital environment. Based around the same systems that power Google Maps, Waze operates a highly accurate mapping system with frequent updates.

From a warning, speed camera detector, Police detector, collision detector and broken down vehicle perspective, it solely relies on user-submitted data, which in actual reality can be manipulated - such as the Surrey Police force did back in September 2022, when they posted Police presence in areas where speeding is a common issue - only for the Police to not be present.

Does Waze show speed cameras?

Waze does show speed cameras, if users submit the positions of the speed cameras. What Waze cannot do is determine whether the speed camera is turned on or not. With Waze using it's community for it's user-submitted data, it is highly unreliable and misleading. Users can post any warning they like on their route - whether it's verified or not. 

What's a good alternative to Waze?

From a satellite navigation point of view, Waze is a suitable application which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible - if the head unit in your vehicle allows for. You can also get a standalone sat nav unit that is mounted to your windscreen - which is dedicated to navigating.

In regards to being a speed camera detector - Waze is not a reliable source for accurate speed camera locations, and we would suggest using a dedicated speed camera detector to detect locations.

Our very own Road Angel Pure One is a great example of a speed camera detector that works every time - especially as more and more speed cameras are coming to the force