Describe Your Location Anywhere With 'What3Words'

If you’re at a house or business, it’s easy enough to communicate where you are: just give an address or a google-able name. But if you’re trying to meet someone at their blanket on the beach, or telling a friend where in the woods you’re lost, that’s a harder problem.

Latitude and longitude are made for this, but here’s a much more user-friendly method: what3words. Every 3-metre-by-3-metre square of earth has three words associated with it. What3words’s global headquarters is in London at a spot called ///filled.count.soap. Looking around my own neighbourhood, I can tell you the spot where birdwatchers congregated this season to gawk at a bald eagle nest is ///threading.thrusters.rulers.

Emergency services use this app in the UK: if you’re in an accident but aren’t sure how to describe where along the road you are, they’ll have you download the app and give them your three-word code. Even though that’s not routine everywhere, the codes are still a handy way to remember and communicate specific areas regardless of whether they have a formal name or address.

The app lets you enter a code and find directions to it, so you could use what3words to find your car in an airport parking lot, or meet a friend at a specific trailhead to go hiking. You can also make lists of locations in the app, for example your favourite fishing spots. Best of all, it doesn’t require a data connection to work — just your phone’s GPS.


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