Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What 3 Words

What 3 Words is a website and mobile app that assigns a three-word combination to every three-meter square on the planet (about 57 trillion of them), which is demonstrated in the screenshot below I took in our local Meijer parking lot.  Take a few steps in any direction and the "hulk.epic.tender" will change to a completely new phrase.  

A somewhat obvious use of this is in 9-1-1 calls.  Supplying emergency responders with a precise location helps deliver aid more quickly, as I found out about in the February 2024 City of Kettering newsletter.  This would greatly help if you are injured during a hike on a long trail or in a similar situation where a conventional address is only partially helpful.

Another application is global and addresses the lack of addressing for billions of people on Earth.  In the fascinating five-minute TED talk at the link below, Chris Sheldrick explains how he and his team came up with this idea and how three African nations now use What 3 Words to give their people an address.

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