Landmark - Best Practices US

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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby WeeeZer14 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:12 pm

I'm late to the party but my 2 cents:
I'd love for some way to flag long term construction zones. The idea running around in my head that I like the most would be road segment based and then it just pops little traffic cones/pylons/barrels on the map display along the length. No warning or alert generated (although maybe that can be an option).
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:42 am

Agreed. Using landmarks as POIs seems like a temporary fix, but probably worth it at a limited number of heavily-traveled locations, like airports. One can place these "landmark-POIs" within landmarks, or completely delete the larger landmark causing an issue with routing.
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:48 pm

PhantomSoul wrote:I think we're still very divided on whether POI's in general should be included as landmarks, since Waze does not provide any kind of interface in the WME for inputting and maintaining a native database of POIs and there's a lot of frustration with such POI's not appearing visually on the map.

We seem to just keep see-sawing back in forth where the yay-sayers add businesses they feel are navigationally significant, while the nay-sayers just go around deleting them and the yay-sayers then re-add them...


Again, good discussion, but it seems we're easily distracted. I had the opportunity to hear this debate in miniature at the US Meetup 2013. The same kind of nuanced questions kept coming from the editors about what detail to show, what to delete, what to include, etc.

What I heard, very resoundingly clear from Ehud, was that he wanted more content. He probably wanted more content than the editors were capable of being comfortable (for various good technical and emotional reasons). So, debating about putting in POIs or not, deleting them, etc., seems a bit silly when the app could do well with more content, both that which shows on the map and that which does not.

Of course, standards and guidance are useful to bound chaos. Waze only has so much funds (at least at the Meetup time) to pursue more enhancements and editor features that could help this debate. For instance, if we drew in every isle of a parking lot, it would make the map look horrible unless parking lot roads were rendered differently. Maybe now with Google Cash Flow, the developers can accelerate functionality in the map editor and tools as well as work to standardize the list of various landmark types that exists but some here are trying to limit use (as mentioned in the prior post).
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:35 pm

So is anyone going to tackle the Landmarks guidance on the Wiki, which is mostly blank? I know AndyPoms was going to get to it and that he has been otherwise occupied.
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Wed May 29, 2013 5:29 am

PhantomSoul wrote:Shouldn't POI's be points instead of complex polygons, just from a database perspective? ... A landmark is, by definition, prominent. I think one of the things that has to be decided is whether we want to limit landmarks to physical prominence - in other words, does the thing, say, visually stand out from the vast majority of things around it, perhaps for at least a few miles? ...


Thanks PhanomSoul for starting a great discussion and everyone for their response. This seems rather critical to editing, yet I would rather now wait for an answer from Waze to edit anything in this category if we know of certain solutions like the ones earlier in this post about small landmarks as having POI value at airports. I deleted the Albuquerque Sunport because of this reason and put it over the terminal building.

I like the distinction between visual and social prominence... where social might have to do with tourist attractions, churches, etc. There's also the difference between actual land-area of an item and the key entrance point. For instance, one may map a golf course as a means to show spatial reference in the map, obstacles, etc., but that doesn't lead you to the club house. So, if this large golf course object or objects is named the course name, will POI search bring you to the wrong place? Sure could, it seems from this discussion.

If landmarks are small enough, they don't show on the client and can be POI's right? There are now a bunch of these as new gas stations all over the map from the recent automated process.

This is a community based crowd-sourced application right? So why wait for a response from Waze if none comes. If you choose a standard and the map is edited with more data, won't the app follow? Just curious I guess. If we all used a certain sized small landmark as a POI and the right types or agree upon use of something like "other," wouldn't that suffice?
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Tue May 28, 2013 7:24 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:
PhantomSoul wrote:What's the relationship between landmarks and POI's?

In Waze? There is no relationship because there is no POI database. It's only landmarks, which are, often, being "abused" to input POIs. And "abused" only in the sense that we simply do not have another option.


That's interesting. I thought landmarks would be accessible in a POI search. I read or heard somewhere from Waze that they would like to expand their internal database of search information too. Jason's comment a few posts back in this topic seemed to indicate that landmark access in POI search started occurring about three weeks ago (unless I misunderstood). I thought I verified it worked by searching for some of my landmarks (BIA was one when I went there for a meeting).

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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Tue May 28, 2013 12:15 pm

ncc1701v wrote:Landmarks are not just orientation aids, they can be destinations in themselves. When I was on Oahu as a tourist, there were several cases every day where all I knew was the name of a particular park, but I had no idea how to get an address, or even street, for it. I was very grateful that the people there had taken the trouble to map them. The same is true for other "historically significant" places - they are often destinations, and people need to be able to find them without street addresses.


Good ideas. I added them to my prior post list in case it was useful.
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Mon May 27, 2013 1:58 pm

russblau wrote:...but the purpose of this document is to provide guidance to a group of volunteers who are unsupervised and pursuing their own personal motivations. If you just tell them "don't map X" without explaining why, they will ignore if it they feel like it. At a minimum, this document needs some explanation of what is the difference between a landmark and a POI, and why it matters for mapping.


I agree 100 percent. The rational is important to a volunteer community. I'd further this by adding that there needs to be some flexibility in the guidance. It seems evident to me that perceptions of between small/big town, rural/urban, east/west coast, north/south, regional, cultural, etc. can have significant impact on what would be a landmark. Some absolutes may be useful but in general they don't appear to be good for a fairly large and diverse country.

russblau wrote:Second, given what I understand to be the purpose of landmarks, many of these guidelines make no sense. Why is the "historical importance" of a cemetery of any value in deciding whether it is useful to drivers seeking to orient themselves on the road network? Why are parks or schools, which may be located far off a road, more useful for navigation than a store or office building? A McDonald's at a major intersection may be a more useful landmark than a church that is at the end of a long dead-end street and not visible from any other road. Again, what's the reason for these distinctions?


Again, I agree 100 percent. What I really agree with is asking the question, "Why?" rather than just making up some rules that are not principle-based. The principles answer the "Why?" question and help understand if the rules are useful.

When the past, now locked, landmark guidance thread was started, I added a number of comments just like these, but more specific to the proposed guidance points. I think one thing I discerned from the conversation there was that a number of people were biased toward the POI search being the dominant approach for considering use of landmarks. I mentioned that I like the visual value on the graphical display and often search that way, touch the screen, and indicate to navigate there. I also like visual orientation and content on the map rather than a bland set of roads. A recent comment i posted in "Jolly Drivers" had a UR come in from a user that wanted the ability to switch between map and satellite view. Why? My guess is just for that reason - visual reference.

At the Meetup 2013 it was clear to me that Ehud wanted content, including landmarks. There were prior debates (apparently uninformed) about the business model of Waze, and not putting the local McDonalds on the corner in as a landmark for that reason. Ehud wanted it all there, I assume because then he has more on the map to work with and show or not show at a later time.

At the same time I can see that taking this too far could cause a problem and too much noise on the map. (1) Less can be more. This is true because of what we see on the display. (2) It is also true because the more landmark data you add, the harder it is too keep up the maintenance of that data. This probably leads to the idea that we shouldn't map every individual business. To me we do't want to do that because they open, close, and move a lot. Do you want to keep up with maintaining that? Nobody will. People will keep up maintaining businesses that are themselves landmarks for the community, like the corner pharmacy, McDonalds, Walmart, etc. People do use these landmarks to navigate by seeing what is on the display -- they are often more visible than the road name signs. (3) Too small of landmarks will not display well, or at all, but maybe that is OK if the search function finds them -- Waze appears to be heading in the direction of searching their own data. (4) Inconsistency in what you see as a landmark from one place to another will add confusion for the users. So, we need some order as well.

Rather than just yap about "principles" here are some ideas that people can pick apart, add to, enhance, etc. I think I wrote some of these in my prior posts, but am suggesting some for the discussion. I did this quickly so there is not a lot of thought in these items:

Principles - Why we map landmarks:

  • Waze has indicated they want landmarks. Waze will search landmarks in POI Search.
  • Some people navigate better with landmarks as a visual reference.
  • Landmarks add visual content and interest to the map rather than having just a plain network of roads.

Principles - Consistency in Landmarks:

  • Consistency in how we map, name, and document landmarks will provide a better, less confusing, experience for the users.
  • Consistency in how we name and document landmarks will enable better POI Search by Waze that uses their own data.
  • Consistency in how we map landmarks will affect how well Waze can use landmarks to alter navigation and adjust automated error reporting in navigation.
  • There must be room for regional/local variation in what is portrayed as a landmark because value of a landmark may be different in these regions and specific content may exist one place and not another.
  • Consistency in picking the right type of landmark is useful. For instance, what type of landmark is a golf course? (park)
  • Consistency in naming landmarks is useful. For instance, should it be "John Adams Middle School" or "John Adams MS" to save display space in the client?

Principles - What is a Landmark and should be mapped

  • Tourist destinations including historically significant locations, natural parks, amusement parks, etc. These are mapped both for Waze-internal POI Search and visual reference. {edited here due to comment by ncc1701v}
  • A landmark is an important item on the map useful for visual reference in navigation by the user or by POI Search (of its own data) by Waze. Examples might be visually apparent corner businesses, shopping malls, rivers or bodies of water (if not in the water layer), etc.
  • Items important to travel by users should be landmarks, such as gas stations (special type of landmark), travel centers, rest stops, tourist destinations and visitor centers, car washes (?), tunnels (?), etc.
  • Items that impede travel and help a user understand a route may be good landmarks. Examples might be a golf course, flood ditch (arroyo), large private complex like a university, etc.
  • Items critical to a community should be landmarks. Examples might be government services, courthouses, city services, etc.
  • Emergency or medical services such as hospitals or pharmacies should be landmarks.

Principles - What we should avoid mapping or what is not a landmark

  • We should not map every small business unless there is an overriding reason to do so. These items usually do not have navigation value. If we map everything, then it leads to a maintenance nightmare because these entities open, close, and move quite often.
  • Water features already in the water layer should not usually be landmarks.
  • I am sure there are a lot more categories of things that should not be mapped. I am drawing a blank on some now.

Notice I didn't go into detail about exactly how to draw a landmark or how some landmark mapping, naming, and documentation could be different.
Last edited by vectorspace on Tue May 28, 2013 12:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Thu May 23, 2013 3:42 am

mapcat wrote:I wasn't there, so I don't know the context, but "as much content as possible" does not make a map better. It has the opposite effect.


Yea--I agree. I think it is a threshold issue -- when is as much as possible too much. There are implementation issues -- what is presented on the display. Overall though, that was the impression I had.
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Re: Landmark - Best Practices US

Postby vectorspace » Tue May 21, 2013 5:17 am

razor2k wrote:
vectorspace wrote:I enter small bodies of water because they were never on the water layer in Waze and never showed up on the client. I think they are vital visual references to understand the map that is displayed on the client and should be entered. If you mark them as sea/lake/levee, then Waze can always choose to not display them.


I see your point to the visual reference thing, which would be fine if you just do a simple polygon of the object. However, I've seen detailed outlines of "retention ponds" which have probably upwards of 100 nodes. :o ....This is not good.


I guess I would defer to the local need for water landmarks that are not on local layers. I see a lot of absolute statements about what should and should not be a landmark, including water. I keep going back to the Meetup 2013 where Ehud said he wanted as much content as possible to make the map better. I would wonder what improves the experience of those using the client and not make a simple or arbitrary rule and then try to apply it everywhere.

The visual reference idea is one I have used to decide to add or not add landmarks. Rivers not on the water layer that are miles away from any road are not very high priority to add. On the other hand, water landmarks in a city that perhaps only have water on them during flash floods (like in New Mexico if we could ever get rain again) are things that define natural barriers to traffic flow and points of reference people use to navigate. They ought to be added, in my opinion, because they add useful content.

I agree that adding overly detailed structure of a water landmark is a waste of bits and processing time for Waze.
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