Maps That Live and Breathe With Data

But largely missing from Google’s Maps — and from those of other players in the field like Microsoft and Apple — is the social component. The map is simply presented by the company.

With Waze, the mob is the map, and like a mob, it can be churning with energy. The start-up, which has only a few employees, has generated many of its maps by tracking the movements of its nearly 50 million users via GPS. In any given month, about one-third of them are firing up the app, and as they drive, they can share information about slowdowns, speed traps and road closures, allowing Waze to update suggested routes in real time.