What would you do if you needed to locate a heavily pregnant woman trapped inside 1 of more than 20,000 shipping container somewhere within the port of Hull?
The solution used by Humberside police may soon have an enormous impact upon mountain medicine. On making contact, those looking after the woman were told to download the What 3 Words App and use it to transmit their location. Despite the shipping containers being spread over more than 6 acres the group were found within minutes. According to Paul Renshaw, the Police Control Room Supervisor on duty that day, “there is no doubt in my mind that this incident could have had a very different outcome had we not been able to use What 3 Words”.
So how does it work? Developers at What 3 Words have divided the world into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one to a unique randomly assigned 3 word address. Therefore, the front door of Number 10 Downing Street is slurs.this.shack whilst the street where the press congregate outside is stage.pushy.nuns! Using combinations of 40,000 words it has therefore been possible to map the entire planet.
The What 3 Words app is freely available in 35 languages and can be used on iOS and Android. Importantly, it can be used offline.
As you might expect, health care professionals have found some innovative applications for its use! In 2018, Dr Brian Prendergast, a GP on Mull, set up the “Addressing Mull” project. With the help of Jaguar LandRover all 2236 houses on the island were issued with a plaque stating their What 3 Words location and instructions on how to use it. Not only has it now proved easier to get medical care to the islanders, but it has also helped in countless other ways - from helping holidaymakers find their accommodation to making the lives of delivery drivers much easier! As Dr Prendergast says, “I want to see the code embedded into all aspects of island life. It’s genius. It should catch on everywhere eventually”.
Does this spell the end of the 10 figure GPS grid reference? Let us know your thoughts!
The Addressing Mull film can be viewed here…