Let's say you are meeting friends at a large outdoor concert, how do you provide your location? A street address may get them to the entrance gate, then what? What3words has proposed a solution that solves the issue of finding exact locations on a map?
What3words has divided the entire planet into 57 trillion 3mx3m grids and assigned each grid a unique three-word "address".
If I want to meet friends at the entrance of Union Station in Toronto, I can search for "Union Station" in Google maps, and it will take me to the building but not necessarily the front entrance:
Or I can give my friends the What3Words address for the main entrance 3mx3m square which is: tens.listed.surviving
The What3Words address takes them directly to the entrance where I want to meet them. No ambiguity and no confusion.
In most western countries, we have mailing addresses but these aren't always easy to find. The most accurate mechanism has been latitude and longitude (which would look like this 43°38'43.3"N 79°22'51.9"W). Obviously, the three-word descriptor is easier to communicate and remember than the latitude/longitude.
The entire world is mapped using about 40,000 words (it is available in multiple languages including French, Spanish, Arabic and more). Obviously, great care has gone into choosing the words to ensure there is nothing offending and no double meanings. They have assigned more common words to locations in major centers.
What3Words claims their tech is being used in over 170 countries by dozens of organizations from delivery companies (Aramex) to disaster relief coordination in the Philipines by the Red Cross.
The entire mapping can be downloaded for use offline and consumes about 10MB of space. They are partnering with companies to build this tech into third-party apps.
I really think this is a wonderfully unique approach to a problem everyone experiences and I hope more companies start using the What3Words technology. In the meantime, you can download their free Android and IOS app to get started. You can find the What3Words location address or navigate to any What3Words address (using your favorite Nav app installed on your IOS or Android phone (Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze).