Real Life SimCity


Recently I’ve been playing with a mapping app on the iPhone called Waze. This allows you to do free turn by turn routing on a smartphone (at time of writing Android and iPhone’s supported), with the added bonus of up to date traffic reporting by fellow users of the service.

Waze started in Israel, and they’ve pretty much got the whole country mapped now. The UK however is sparse – most roads are not mapped yet, but this is the bit I’m enjoying most. When you drive down a road that’s not on Waze, you actually create it. The phone uploads the GPS data to the web, and you go along later and add the street name.

This bit feels like SimCity – creating your own roads! However it does feel like wasted effort, as a project called OpenStreetMap has already created free maps of the entire UK, which Waze or other projects like it could be using. Waze are taking a bit of a gamble on UK users wanting to create a map of the UK before the routing and traffic functions will start to take off. Smartphone Apps that use OpenStreetMap are plentiful – but I’ve yet to find a free one for the iPhone.

For SimCity fans it’s great though – you find yourself deliberately taking new routes to and from work just to add new roads to the map.

One thought on “Real Life SimCity”

  1. Waze announced in February they’ve done a deal with a company that has Europe-wide street level maps, so the mapping side of Waze could be over.
    In March, the road maps were rolled out in French and German. No word yet on the UK.

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