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App Gives Anywhere and Everywhere an Address

We don't mean your house or anything as mundane as that.

What3Words gives everywhere on Earth an address. Be it a yurt on the Mongolian steppe, a rock in the Australian outback or a tor in the Scottish Highlands. The app has divided up the world into squares of three metres by three metres and has ascribed a unique trio of words to each square. Think GPS but with words to pinpoint a location rather than a complex jumble of numbers.

For example, the statue of Eros in London's Piccadilly Circus is located at bumpy.remain.pigs according to the app. America's statue of liberty is at planet.inches.most.

But what makes the free-to-use app especially powerful are the life-enhancing – and sometimes life-saving – uses to which it's being put. Examples range from coastguards locating kayakers who have drifted out to sea, through to young children who have guided emergency services to the site of a car crash.

Where the UK-registered app is really coming into its own is among the 4 billion or so people around the world who lack an easily recognisable home address. Picture one of Uganda’s largest refugee camps, where the app’s Scrabble-like word patterns are ensuring that medical aid arrives at the correct patients’ doors. Or the taxi service in Delhi that allows women to step confidently into a cab, knowing it will drop them right on their doorstep.

What3Words is now available in 47 languages, from Afrikaans and Arabic to Malayalam and Mongolian. The latter is especially relevant, as Mongolia’s postal service is the first in the world to officially adopt the word-based address service. It complements, not replaces, the existing system.

Why not download the app? You might just need it, suddenly, one day...


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