What3Words claims to be 'the simplest way to talk about location.'

What3Words means that everywhere on Earth – from a ditch in the Scottish Highlands to a yurt in Timbuktu – has an address. Ever since its launch, it has saved lives and sparked debate. 


The idea behind the app is that street addresses weren’t designed for 2021. They aren’t accurate enough to specify precise locations, such as building entrances, and don’t exist for parks and many rural areas. This makes it hard to find places and prevents people from describing exactly where help is needed in an emergency. 


The app works by divvying the world up into squares of three metres by three metres and then ascribing a unique trio of words to each square. Think GPS but with words to pinpoint a location rather than a complex jumble of numbers. 


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.


But what makes the free-to-use app valuable to us and our communities in particular, are the life-enhancing – and sometimes life-saving – uses to which it is 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. 


How do I use what3words in an emergency?

To find you more easily in an emergency, many UK Emergency Services are encouraging you to share your 3 word address.


  1. Find the 3 word address for your current location on the free what3words app for iOS and Android. It works offline – ideal for areas with unreliable data connection.
  2. Share your 3 word address over the phone to the call handler.
  3. The emergency service can then coordinate a response directly to the exact location where help is needed.


For more information please watch the video below:

June 22, 2021 — Ryde UK