Tech Tips

The advent of the smartphone is pretty remarkable. Whether we like it or not, the constant access to wireless data via satellites changes the way people interact with the world around them. Additionally, with the ease that GPS programs can be integrated into smart phones, it’s virtually impossible to get lost.

Then the iPhone 5 came out with iOS 6 and we’ve all heard the horror stories about people being led down streets that didn’t exist, against one-way traffic, or, god forbid, being a few minutes late because a traffic feed failed to update properly. Fortunately, there’s Waze — a mobile app that provides an open-source, crowd-sourced solution to iOS 6 Maps and Android users frustrated with their default map options.

Waze is a crowd-sourced map application. This means that it compiles data from all of its users into a constantly updating database. The database includes live traffic data, road conditions, road changes and even notable disturbances like police checkpoints, photo-enforced intersections and accidents.

Additionally, Waze provides a beautiful user interface that automatically switches between day and night modes for easier viewing, provides turn-by-turn voice navigation, and even informs users of nearby gas prices. The voice navigation will even work when the phone is locked, so you can put it in your cup holder and listen to directions without ever looking at your device.

Waze is available to any lost Aggies via the app store or Google Play. Even better, all of the benefits are available free of charge.

ALAN LIN can be reached at science@theaggie.org.

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