Google Maps is great. If you want to share your location then it’s just a matter of clicking the relevant button. Likewise, if you’ve got WhatsApp, you can share your location or your live location. It’s great if you’re sending to someone via the internet or to someone using the same app.
However, what happens if you’re on the phone to someone? If you’re actually speaking to them and you need to tell them where you are?
Well, sure – there’s postcodes, or zip-codes. However, if you’re in a rural location these might cover vast areas. Likewise, if you’re in a built-up area, this might cover lots of properties.
Yes, you could ask the person on the other end of the line to fire up WhatsApp, or perhaps get their number so that you can send a text with your exact GPS position, but … that takes time.
So (wow, that was an introduction wasn’t it??!), this is where What3words steps in. It’s a clever way to “geocode” your location and turns complex GPS coordinates into three simple words. All you need to do is fire up the app, read out the words, then the person on the other end can locate you accurately by just typing the words into the What3words website.
So, if you whack in “ambushes.ideas.nags“, you’ll see that I’m in a field – and exactly whereabouts in that field – somewhere in Langley Mill.
The emergency services have already started to support this system, so if you fall off your bike or horse and you’re in the middle of nowhere, just reading out the relevant three words will help the relevant people get to you quickly.
The system is accurate to a 3 metre square and those 3 word address will never change. Seems like a very decent idea to me.