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What3words gives everyone an address

I remember sitting on the upper level of a double decker bus taking in the surroundings. My bestie and I were on our way to see a seal colony in Peru. We drove through what South Africans would call a township. We had seen this before and never really took any notice, until the elderly Ukranian gentlemen asked us “How do they get mail?”. “If they need to get something what address would they use?” I had never thought of that before.

Around 75% of the world (135 countries) suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems. This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.

What3words provides a solution. They have divided the world into 3mx3m squares and each one has its own unique description – three random words.

what3words logo

This is not only for remote places. How many times have you said “Meet me by the entrance, near the coffee shop”? While co-ordinates provide an exact location, this isn’t really user friendly or  memorable. With what3words you could tell your friend, meet me at paper.diamond.cat.

I searched for the Fourways Farmer’s Market. So the next time you want a friend from out of town to meet you there, simply say “Meet me at librarian.servants.suckle”.

fourways farmer's market

What: what3words

Why:

  • it works offline
  • the names are fixed, so they can’t be changed
  • it is currently available in 9 languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Russian, German, Turkish & Swedish. And they are working on adding more.
  • they have removed homphones so there will never be sail.dot.flower and sale.dot.flower

Why not:

  • They have removed offensive words, so my dream of saying meet me at $%#&.laptop.pigs will never be realised

Get it: iOS and Android

Fun Fact: there are 57 trillion 3mx3m squares

Want to know more, then watch this video:

[vimeo 112227335 w=500 h=281]

 

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