What3Words Is A Precise Location System Using, Well, Three Words

Image Of A 3 Square Meter Box Around A Car, And Three Words Indicating Location.

How Do You use 3 Words to Describe an Exact 3 Meter Square of the Earth?

We use addresses countless times a day. We navigate to work, to the store, to our kids school or various activities. But it’s not necessarily the exact place we want to be that we’re navigating to. For example, we know that the address to the school is in one spot, but the pickup line starts in another. We know that the address to the grocery store is in the middle of the building but the entrance is on a certain side. Wouldn’t it be great to have a more detailed address so we didn’t have to drive or walk in circles to figure out where we actually want to be?

The first time I heard about What3Words, I was in a hurry and it was explained to me briefly. So I listened for a moment and thought “Okaaayyy…interesting,” then went about my day. The next time I heard about it, I had more time. I percolated the concept and, as the potential began to brew, I thought “Oooooooh! Oookay! That IS interesting!” Allow me to fill you in.

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At Ces, What3Words Used 3 Words To Help You Navigate To Their Exhibit!

At CES, What3Words used 3 words to help you navigate to their exhibit!

What3Words has Made 57 Trillion Addresses!

What3Words has assigned 3 words to describe every single 3 meter square of the earth, which amounts to 57 trillion addresses! It sounds really simple, but it’s actually quite complex. They’ve considered potential complications like similar word combinations. ///table.chair.lamp, for example, is located in New South Wales, Australia, while ///tables.chair.lamp is in Minnesota. They are certainly similar words but you are not likely to be confused about what country you’re navigating in. The more you think about it, the more exciting the potential is.

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The Words Stomp.bendy.songbook Lead You To A 3 Meter Square In The Middle Of The Desert.

The words stomp.bendy.songbook lead you to a 3 meter square in the middle of the desert.

3 Words Makes it Easy to Find Your Picnic Spot in a Huge Park

What about meeting friends in the park for a picnic? They can try to describe where they set up camp for the day, they can try to tell us what street corner to park on and which direction to walk in. But what if they could tell us the exact 3 meter square that they’re standing on? Wouldn’t that be amazing? And what if it happened not just in English, but whatever your primary language is?

What about those emergency moments when you don’t know where you are? There may not be road signs or landmarks or any way to find your bearings at all. In that moment, what if you could use 3 words to describe your exact location? Like ///stomp.bendy.songbook (That’s in the middle of the Mojave Desert, if you’re curious). W3W is being used by 911 operators throughout the US so, if you share your current 3 words with them, they should be prepared to locate your exact spot.

There are so many occasions where it’s more helpful to share an exact 3 meter square location than just an address. An address can get you to a building but where is the entrance? Where is the handicap accessible entrance? As someone who occasionally has to use a wheelchair, I know I’d love to have an exact location for a wheelchair accessible entrance since sometimes that is not the same as the front entrance!

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There Is Even A Map Of Burning Map Utilizing What3Words!
There is even a map of Burning Map utilizing What3Words!

And What About Ride Sharing?

What3Words is enabled in Lyft, Uber, and many taxis. You can literally find your exact What3Words location in the app and send it to your favorite ride sharing app. You can also use it for your drop off point and have them deposit you off at the exact entrance. It also works within Apple and Google Maps. You can select your exact square, hit navigate, and send it to your maps where it converts to longitude and latitude.

Imagine Dragons Embedded 3 Words Into Their Album Cover And Made A Treasure Hunt! Photo: Liv Leigh
Imagine Dragons embedded 3 words into their album cover to create a treasure hunt. Photo: Liv Leigh

Unconventional Uses of What3Words Abound

There are a ton of ways to integrate What3Words, which is probably why it has fueled some truly interesting projects. Like the Imagine Dragons Treasure Hunt. Back in 2017, they released their new album cover with 3 words subtly shown on the bottom. Unscrambling the anagram gave a What3Words location to buried treasure that some enthusiastic fans found! W3W has been used in adventure scavenger hunts and even an entire guide book series aiming to help you travel “Like a Local.”

So now that you know what What3Words are, I encourage you to try out the app and find out what YOUR 3 words are! It’s pretty fun to pick the 3 words for your home and find the best combination. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to interview What3Words so, if you’re interested, you can check that out here.

I hope now that you’ve let the idea of What3Words brew a bit, you’ll use it and find out how awesome it is.

An enthusiastic supporter of everything she’s passionate about, Liv got her first Electric Car and immediately made a YouTube... More about Liv Leigh