Map protection Discussion History

Traffic locks

Traffic locks (aka - road ranks or segment locks) are the first line of defense when protecting the Waze map from damaging edits.

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).

How it works

Every road segment has two lock values in the WME:
- Automatic lock rank
- Manual rank (aka User lock rank)

Rank rules

1. The user lock cannot be set higher than the user's own level.
2. User cannot change a lock-level that is set to higher than their own.
3. Last edit date does not influence the algorithm.

Automatic lock rank

This is the default calculation. In each country, Waze manually changes some of the parameters according to:
- Community size
- Management methods
- Activity
- Map maturity
- Population
- Road network characteristic
- Road Weight (see below)

A road’s weight reflects how busy that segment is and how long it's been on our map. Waze then divides all the segments in the country to half percentiles, removing some very highly weighted segments (because they significantly shift the results). Traffic locks are applied for countries where it's relevant and required. Waze works with the local editing community to understand the correct traffic lock parameters. After a period of beta-testing, the parameters are made live in the WME.

Manual rank

Use manual lock if the automatic road rank seems insufficient.

Example parameters (varies by country)

Lowest 97.5% of the segments in the country - are available for everyone to edit (= no automatic lock)
98% - 98.5% - Rank 2+
98.5% - 99% - Rank 3+
99% - 99.5% - Rank 4+
99.5% - 100% - Rank 5+
The calculation process occurs about once/month in an effort to keep all locks up to date.

Manual locks

Many regions have established minimum manual locks depending on road type or Place status. Please check your state's Wazeopedia page for details.

Editors with sufficient rank may choose to lock objects higher than regional standards require, based on tradeoffs of exposure, risk, value, stability, obscurity, and local concerns. These tradeoffs are detailed below.

  • Exposure reflects the number of ranking editors likely to have editing access to the location. It is highest at large international airports and popular international destinations.
  • Risk is the likelihood that an intentional construction (or omission) may be mistaken for an oversight. Risk is greatest for complex constructions that involve subtle knowledge or difficult tradeoffs, or that appear to depart from common practice. Risk also accompanies constructions that may appear incorrect due to obsolete street-view data, inaccurate GPS Points, or out-of-date or misregistered aerial imagery. Sometimes even an ordinary red turn restriction may be at risk due to careless use of basemap editing tools. Risk may be reduced with the use of a Map Comment, but this is no guarantee of protection; some editors may not have their Map Comment layer enabled, and others relying on automated tools may not be looking. (Note: Places are subject to an additional kind of risk from intentional or unintentional "trojan horse" place-update requests whose thoughtless acceptance could lead to Place corruption or deletion.)
  • Value is highest for popular and infrastructure-critical roads and destinations.
  • Stability reflects the expected necessity of future editing. A less-stable location, such as one subject to frequent closures, may benefit if it is locked low enough that local regular editors can be responsive.
  • Obscurity means how long a counterproductive change to the location might endure before someone notices and fixes it.
  • Local concerns involve particular map objects known to local editors to require additional protection.

Balancing these tradeoffs may lead to manual locks that at first glance seem surprising. For example, the main street of a large but essentially rural town with few visits by editors may be locked at 5, while the main street of a major city subject to frequent closures due to parades and other events may be locked at 4.

When departing from regional locking standards, it is always useful to include a Map Comment describing why the departure was necessary. Meanwhile, Map Comment or not, higher-ranking editors encountering a highly-locked construction should always attempt to understand it, perhaps contacting the apparent author, before using their rank to change it or lower its locks.


The throttling system is a mechanism that detects anomalies in number of edits per time frame and prevents to accumulate edits and gain points for massive edits. While many scripts are used for positive additions to the map, some scripts cause specific harm with the goal of accumulating points quickly. Scripts used for massive edits are allowed, but may not always result in the rewarding of points.

The system was put in place to prevent cheaters from unfairly racking up points with massive edits. Waze is aware of the value that some scripts have to the map, but also recognize that some scripts are used simply to gain points. The throttling system is in place to allow massive edits, but deter cheating.

How it works

Waze has many thresholds for different types of massive editing activity. Once a limit is reached, the next round of edits results in no additional points. The transaction is followed by a time frame during which edits remain uncredited.

Types of editing thresholds

Different thresholds exist for each object type (segments, MP, UR, places etc). Some are calculated per minute, some per hour and some per day. The exact numbers are internal and may change occasionally as needed (new scripts, etc).

Please note that the thresholds are high. It is unlikely to reach them when editing manually without using scripts.

What will I see if I’ve reached the limit?

Nothing. This is a backend process and invisible in the UI. Edits will go through, everything will look the same, but points will not be granted.

Will this block me as an editor?

Currently, Waze won't auto-block/lock users due to massive edits. This may change in the future.

Reset after throttling

Currently, it takes a few hours to reset your ability to acquire points after edits have triggered the throttling system. The exact timeframe is internal and may change occasionally.

Throttling vs. Cheating

Waze defines cheating as performing edits to the map that do not add value to unfairly move up in rank. Throttling is one of the current methods we use to identify these types of edits, when done on a massive scale. Not all massive edits equal cheating, and not all throttling is as a result of cheating behavior. The system currently does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” massive editing behavior. Contributing to the map with the use of scripts and massive editing is allowed, however, may trigger the throttling system.

Regression Checker

Regression checkers is a tool which further assists in protecting the quality of the map. Regression checker warns editors of edits which might harm the map and/or cause map issues. This tool does not work in conjunction with the throttling system but is an additional layer of protection to overall map quality.

How it works

Every save is analysed against a list of possible issues, recent drives in an area, and current road structure. Waze estimates how correct or risky an edit is and gives it a risk score.

Ex: A very large change in a busy highway which cannot work with current driving patterns is expected to have a very high risk score, while a small change in a side street which seems to comply with current driving patterns will have a low risk score.

What the user sees

After each save, the user will see one of three save results: Save successful - everything is cool. Warning - Potential issue. A list of the issues appears and their locations. The user needs to review the issues and decide if they’d like to move ahead with the edits. Error - Serious potential issue. A list of the issues appears and their locations. The user needs to review the issues and fix them. Only then will they be able to save again.

Effect of ranks

There are different warning and error thresholds for each rank. Higher ranking users are more likely to get 'successful' where a lower ranking user might get a warning and to get a warning where a lower ranking user might get an error.