I just learned about What 3 Words

W3W has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address. It used an algorithm that takes complex GPS coordinates and converts them into unique 3 word addresses.  It means anyone can pinpoint any location with 3 simple words.

Of course, the first thing I did was look up what 3 words are designated to the exact location where I’m sitting and working right now.  Fluffy. Imprint. Elaborated.

Ok, I don’t get to pick em so there it is.  That’s where RileyDesigns.com headquarters is located. Here’s how it looks:

what3words gives every 3m x 3m in the world a unique 3 word address. This one identifies the office location of RileyDesigns.com.

Why should anyone care?

what3words is useful where street addresses don’t exist and provides a level of specificity when they are not accurate enough.  I work in a shared workspace environment so the building address won’t even get you close to my office inside the space but What 3 Words nails pinpoints my exact location.  Very cool.

It’s accurate, consistent, memorable, multilingual, works offline (as long as you can store 20mb of data), works great with voice input, and has built in error detection. 

It’s a design thing

You might also be wondering why I’m blogging about this.  I’ll tell you.  Design is largely about making things clear and accessible.  The What 3 Words system is all of that and they’ve built a beautiful interface to deliver it.  I get excited about cleaning up clutter and making systems efficient.  It clears our minds to stuff more clutter in there.

One small problem

The only issue I see with this system, in it’s current state, is that it can’t indicate elevation. So, if you are in a highrise building, you’d share the same 3 words with everyone above and below you. Perhaps they are working on a solution for this?
Discover your What 3 Words address HERE.

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