Three meaningless words mark locations across the entire world

You know that uncomfortable moment when you have to ring a doorbell or just walk up to someone and hope you’re in the right spot? “Google maps said this is the right house, but there’s no street number, and these houses are scary close together…” The dreaded “sorry, I’ve got the wrong door!” or “sorry, I thought you were someone else” conversation is one many fear, but it could soon be a thing of the past.


Rather than sending an address to someone, send three random words that seem to mean absolutely nothing! What3words is changing the way that we mark locations, splitting the world up into 57-trillion 3-meter squares with an individual three-word address connected to each and every square. A portion of the peak of Mount Evans in Colorado, for example, is identified as seriously.navigation.point, and the base of the Pallavicini Lift at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is at tooth.laughed.digested.

Three meaningless words mark locations across the entire world

So, instead of providing an address that may or may not be wrong when inviting a friend over, send them the exact 10’x10′ square that your front door is located in. Rather than telling your friend to meet you at the park bench by the big tree near on the south side of the building, send them the exact 10’x’10’ square that the bench is located in. Rather than attempting to rattle off a bunch of numbers to rescue services to communicate your coordinates, just shout three words that mark your exact location.

The phone app is completely free for download, and you can easily send a square to friends over text. They will need the app to locate the address, as most map services don’t currently recognize the three words, but, again, it’s free!

Rescue Services

The best use for this technology, in our mind, comes with rescue services. Right now, what3words allows rescue organizations to use the tech for free, including in a new partnership with California State Parks. According to NBC Los Angeles, both organizations have worked together for nine months to incorporate the technology, including training phone operators and officers on what to do if someone calls and shouts three random words.

Every year we end up getting calls from visitors that are lost on a trail somewhere, the sun is setting, and they’re not properly equipped with cold weather clothing.” – Assistant deputy director of park operations Adrien Contreras

One of the best features about the phone app is its ability to work offline. If you have zero cell service and no internet, the technology will still be able to locate you with a satellite connection. As long as you have a view of the sky and aren’t underground, you’ll most likely be able to find your three word address. That, paired with most modern phones’ ability to call the police despite a lack of cell connection, could make rescues a whole load easier.

Obviously the California State Park system isn’t the only organization in this country that fields calls for help. Hopefully we see more and more states adopt training related to this tech, and hopefully people become more and more aware of its potential. Honestly, I’d like to see it make the list for necessary outdoor gear, and I’d love to see GPS devices pick up the words.

Related: Denver Area Firefighters Use Jaws Of Life To Rescue Deer Stuck In Fence, Lost New York Hikers Found With Drone Equipped With Thermal Imaging Camera

Image Credit: what3words via Facebook

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