What is What3Words? How to use the app that could save your life

How many times have you excitedly waited for an online delivery to arrive only to be told two days later it’s been delivered to the wrong address? Or tried to meet up with friends in the park only to end up trudging around the grass for hours because of an unclear WhatsApp pin?

Well, this app could put an end to all of those geography-based problems once and for all and it could even save your life, all thanks to three simple words.

What3Words is a smartphone app which gives every 3×3 square metre of the globe a unique three-word code. For example, 10 Downing Street is slurs.this.shark and Wembley Stadium is villa.first.mount. 

Its reach is staggering with every single corner of the globe covered and the emergency services have been quick to pick up on its usefulness.

As well, not only is Mercedez Benz using the system in its cars, but the app is being used for Mongolia’s postal service and Lonely Planet now includes three-word addresses for points of interest.

Here’s all you need to know about What3Words.

What is the What3Words app?

The geocoding app What3Words is basically a co-ordinates system which has divided the world into 57 trillion three-metre squares, and each square has one of these unique, randomly-assigned codes. Not only could it put an end to unclear addresses and hard-to-find pubs, but the emergency services have hailed it for its ability to potentially save lives.

After all, if you’re lost in the middle of the Lake District on a rainy December night and have no directions to go on, just give rescuers your three-word code and within minutes they will know where you are.

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Highlighted as a simple way to talk about location, the company’s founders say What3Words is more accurate than a postcode because.

Billions of people around the world don’t have an address and in those countries which lack postcodes, this app could be a boost for mailing, deliveries and the emergency services.

Mongolia has become a pioneer in that regard, jumping onto the What3Words bandwagon and adopting it for use in its postal services. It’s also proven to be so successful that it is now available in 35 languages. 

Those three words never change and because the app relies on an algorithm and not a database, it can be used on devices with limited storage and no internet connection.

How to use What3Words

It’s simple — all you need to do is download the app and type in an address, either a current location or somewhere you’re travelling to.

The app will then give you a three-word address you can share with your friends or the emergency services.

And it works pretty much everywhere from the centre of London to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be given three randomly assigned words to use instead of an address. 

It is compatible with other apps such as Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze (you can just simply enter the code into the other apps’ search bar). It is also voice-activated.

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How much does What3Words cost?

What3Words its free to use for those who download the app. 

The company says it will always be free for individuals to use on our own site and apps, and there will always be ways to use our business software packages for free.

What phones does the What3Words app work on? 

Phones using iOS and Android operating systems can use the What3Words app, and can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play.


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