What 3 Words Could Save Your Life?

What3Words mapping image

Something that you may not have ever thought about before, but is an interesting notion.

75% of the world suffers from poor addressing, or potentially none whatsoever.

It’s an odd thing to ponder, especially in our civilised world of postcodes and accurate modern sat navs. But according to British company What3Words, it’s absolutely true that the vast majority of our planet isn’t accurately mapped for addresses.

I first saw this talked about on BBC’s QI a while back, which featured this revolutionary method of mapping the globe.

How is What3Words different?

Essentially, they have turned the globe into a grid of 3×3 metre squares, with each and every square, regardless of where it is on the planet, having its own unique 3 word categorisation, regardless of whether that location has a ‘traditional’ address, or whether in the middle of a field, desert, mountain or ocean!

Why is this so great?

One immediate reason why this is a revolutionary method of addressing, is for the emergency services. Say you’re on a hike in the Lake District and have a fall and cannot walk. Rather than trying to relay your position using latitude/longitude which can be hard to give over the phone/text etc – your 3x3mtr square can be found incredibly accurately, enabling rescue services to pinpoint your exact location, which they can navigate to.

Or, in more mundane scenarios; say you’re at an event, festival or concert and you’re trying to find your friends. Rather than saying “I’m by the main stage, by the bar, but behind the merchandise stall, next to the bloke with the ZZ Top beard!” – you can instead give your location as a 3 word address and you’d find each other instantly.

There’s a free app for iOS and Android, and I’d certainly recommend you have it on your phone – UK emergency services seem to be using this more and more. So if anything, there’s a chance that someday, it may just save your life.

P.S. In case you’re interested, if you go to their website & click ‘explore map’, you can find the 3 word address for the car park entrance to Grosvenor Casino (our event location) by searching for: ///shrimp.half.beard

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