Waze No Use in Palestinian Territories, No Problem

When a direction app decides to make it more difficult for people living in a certain area to use it, the free market solution emerges, build an alternative.  In this case, the directions app is Waze.  Full disclosure here, I am a big fan of Waze and use it regularly, but if I lived in Palestinian territories, I would be using a different directions app, Maps.me.  The App is an open source app built to solve the problem of Waze not working right for people in zones it considers “high risk.”

When Waze Won’t Help, Palestinians Make Their Own Open Source Maps

IF YOU WANT to drive the 15 or so miles from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho, in the Palestinian Territories, Google Maps will tell you: “Can’t find a way there.” Waze will issue a warning: “Caution: This destination is in a high risk area or is prohibited to Israelis by law.” If you press “Confirm Drive” nonetheless, the app will direct you, just not all the way.

When you pass from Israel into the West Bank, part of the occupied Palestinian Territories, Waze’s directions simply end. To keep going, you need to change your setting to allow access to “high risk” areas. Even then, GPS coverage tends to be limited…….

If you’re set on crossing the often invisible dividing line between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, your best option is to close Waze and open Maps.Me. The Belarus–born, now Russian–owned navigation app pulls from open source mapping and can be downloaded for offline use, a crucial feature in the Territories, where there’s no 3G for Palestinian providers.

Maps.Me is more than a source of directions. It’s a database of roads, schools, squares, shops, and other landmarks that programmers have plotted through open source mapping (a Wikipedia–like system, where anyone can add their knowledge), places that otherwise would have been left largely off the radar. It’s a solution born of a push from Palestinians and international NGOs over the past decade to increase mapping in the West Bank and Gaza—to put Palestine, literally and figuratively, on the map.

Read More at Wired.com

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About Paul Gordon 1991 Articles
Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv