what3words

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There is no easy way to say this, but let's face the facts, the World is poorly addressed with 75% of the world with poor or no addressing.

Let me introduce you to an alternative to the street addressing most of you are used to; "what3words" is a unique combination of just 3 words that identifies a 3mx3m square, anywhere on the planet.  It’s far more accurate than a postal address and it’s much easier to remember, use and share than a set of coordinates.  Better addressing improves customer experience, delivers business efficiencies, drives growth and helps the social & economic development of countries.

Using words means non-technical people can find any location accurately and communicate it more quickly, more easily and with less ambiguity than any other system like street addresses, postcodes, latitude & longitude or mobile short-links.  People’s ability to immediately remember 3 words is near perfect whilst your ability to remember the 16 numbers, decimal points and N/S/E/W prefixes, that are required to define the same location using lat,long is zero.

Each what3words language is powered by a word list of 25,000 – 40,000 dictionary words.* The word lists go through multiple automated and human processes before being sorted by an algorithm that takes into account word length, distinctiveness, frequency, and ease of spelling and pronunciation. Offensive words and homophones (sale & sail) have been removed. Simpler, more common words are allocated to more populated areas and the longest words are used in 3 word addresses in unpopulated areas.

 

How to use:

Use the search bar to locate an address.  Because this application worldwide, you will have to spell your address out to the city of your choosing.  Ex.  29 Ashby St. Warrenton, VA. State identification may not be necessary depending on the address.  As you type in your address search, a drop down list will display predicting the location you are looking for.  If you listing is in that list you will be able to choose from the list.  If not, continue to spell out your listing.

Once you have identified your location, hit ENTER and the map will zoom to that location displaying the 3 word location identifier for that 3 meter square at the bottom-center of the frame.  You will notice that the location is based on street segment location, if searching addressing in the United States.  This is because most addresses generated in the United States are based on road segment footage and where the structure falls within that road segment.

To display the grid squares, continue to zoom in to the map.  The grid squares will display the farther in you zoom.  Notice when you pan around the map, the 3 word identifier changes.  

On the upper left of the frame, you can identify what map is displayed - imagery, streets, ESRI map, etc...  Depending on the map you are displaying, you may not be able to zoom in to the map far enough to see the grid squares.

what3words map in object