For most of us, the mention of Waze brings to mind the navigation app on your smartphone. But for Paul Kok, a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) technical support professional, Waze means a friendly community of volunteers driven by a love for map editing, one that he has been a part of since 2012.
What is the Waze community? Unknown to many Malaysians, Waze is built and maintained by a global community of volunteer map editors who ensure that the map is updated constantly to reflect current road conditions. Globally, there are 30,000 map editors making updates each month, of which about 300 are Malaysians.
Of the Malaysian map editors, Paul is one of the few that have contributed enormously and is considered a Level 6 Country Manager, one of the top titles for a Waze map editor. On top of his regular map editing, Paul also helps to manage the Malaysian Waze community by managing different communication platforms and setting guidelines to help out other junior level map editors.
“My journey as a Waze map editor started out as an app user,” Paul said. “At that time in 2012, there were many errors on Waze, such as incorrect road names or inaccurate listings for restricted roads. I just wanted to correct those errors, so I tried to edit them and found I could make the corrections.”
This motivated Paul to continue editing and correcting inaccuracies as well as volunteering his time and abilities because he felt that he was able to help other Wazers reach their destinations more effectively. He also found himself enjoying the camaraderie of new map editors by helping and guiding them in map editing.
Through his experience in the Waze community, a lot of doors opened up to Paul as he traveled the region to meet other like-minded map enthusiasts and make lifelong friends. In 2014, Paul attended his first Waze local meetup to meet his fellow editors face-to-face and learned, to his surprise, that his new-found friends were from all walks of life. Since then, Paul has participated in almost all meetups at the local and regional levels, having visited the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand to speak with Waze map editors from other countries.
What started out as an interesting app has become a place where Paul has found true friendship. The close-knit Waze community in Malaysia also keeps in touch outside of the platform, having found even more common ground than their love for editing Waze Maps.
“We created a chat room called WazeMY Kopitiam, where the editors are strictly forbidden from talking about map editing and sensitive issues. Most of the time, the chat room is filled with pictures of food and some even chat about parenting. Doing this has helped the editors feel closer to each other and together we see ourselves editing the map as one big family. We enjoy each other’s presence even though some have not seen each other in real life”, Paul explains.
If that is not real friendship, then we don’t know what is.
The Waze Community in Malaysia
The Waze community is one filled with talent. From map editors, translators to beta testers, Waze users passionately volunteer their skills and time to make everyone’s driving experience a pleasant one. While these volunteers can gain in-app points for their efforts, the community is strongly united by the shared goal of ensuring that the Malaysian road experience is cared for by providing the most updated road information and map details. They also help to make the app more inclusive by ensuring that the community is active and welcoming.
Would you like to join the Waze Community? Become a map editor by heading to https://www.waze.com/editor! Learn how to start editing in our Community Wiki and get in touch with our community of editors in the forums.