The location of the Victoria News reporter’s desk is vocals.observe.shams according to the What3Words mapping system. (map.what3words.com)

3 random words mark every spot on earth

Innovative mapping system assigns three word combinations to 57 trillion 3 metre squares

A global address system created by a tech startup in the UK is gaining traction in its bid to make navigation faster, easier, and more precise – all by using combinations of three random words.

Looking for the B.C. Legislature?

It’s at options.noting.duration.

Where is the reporter’s desk from which this story was written?

Humorously, at vocals.observe.shams.

Are you a UVic student looking to get back to campus?

Head to blossom.pens.smarter.

What3Words has mapped the world into 57 trillion 3 metre squares, each identified with a unique three word combination.

The brilliance of the system is that it can provide a precise location for places that have no address. In fact, that is the reason it was created. From pinpointing an exact spot in the labyrinth of a slum for providing medical aid, to finding a friend at a music festival, the success of the mapping system is evident in the major backing and accolades that it has received since its inception in 2013.

Using combinations of three words makes it easier to remember and relay than GPS points. The service works offline with no need for a data connection, and has been replicated in many different languages.

While it seems like a slick solution to a great need, some mappers are raising alarms over the fact that it is a proprietary, closed system with the company keen to protect their intellectual property. The system is being marketed to governments, disaster and aid agencies, among others, which raises questions about how much control private companies should have over public infrastructure.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

mapping

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Outbreak of COVID-19 among temporary foreign workers at West Kelowna business

The cases may be linked to a group of workers who arrived in Kelowna from outside Canada on March 12

Memorial Cup concert with Brett Kissel canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

Brett Kissel was scheduled to perform at Live on Lake in Kelowna on May 30

City of West Kelowna to start blasting at Rose Valley Treatment Plant

Early site work at the new water treatment plant starts this week

Valleydrive 2020 moves online due to COVID-19

The fundraiser supports the Central Okanagan Food Bank

Kelowna cafe offers free drinks to hospital workers, first responders

Third Space Cafe is offering free drinks to people on the frontlines battling COVID-19

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

LETTER: Thanks to those providing essential services

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board chair recognizes efforts and dedication

Summerland Earth Week events affected by COVID-19

Individual focus rather than group activities during pandemic

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Walkers, grocery store customers courteous with physical distancing in B.C.

Some cyclists also acknowledge each other and walkers as well on a wide trail

COVID-19: Vernon restaurant group forecasts 90% revenue loss for eateries

Pretium Restaurant Group stays positive as coronavirus pandemic affects businesses big and small

Most Read