What3Words?

What3Words?

You may notice the product descriptions in the Nauti by Nature shop include 3 words along with a grid reference to highlight the location the beach treasure in your jewellery piece was found. Every piece of treasure I pick up from the beach is special, and I want to share the beautiful location with you so you know just where it came from.

Right now my home/studio is on my sailboat in Devon, England, but in two years myself and Mike will be setting sail on a global adventure on a sailboat we are currently rebuilding. I have a fabulous choice of beaches here in South Devon, but when my beachcombing adventures know no geographical restrictions, imagine the exotic locations I will be collecting treasures. What3Words will enable me to share with you the found location of your piece of seaglass, shell or stone.

 

What 3 words logo

 

But what is ‘What3Words’ all about you ask? 

It is simply a geo-location system in which the world is divided into 3 metre squares, and each square is given a unique series of three words. This makes pinpointing the exact location of treasure found on the beach a lot of fun. But what other practical uses does What3Words have?

Safety

One of the most important uses of What3Words is by emergency services. Because the location is accurate to a 3 metre square, 3 words allow the emergency services to easily and quickly find the location of a crisis or a casualty. A phone app can be used to discover the three words of your current location. The system is now being used by emergency and search and rescue services around the world. Apps ‘OK Alone’ and ‘Safepoint’ allow lone workers to log their 3 word location with their workplace making jobs which require meeting strangers much safer. Vehicle breakdown services in the UK such as AA and LV have started using the system which is real bonus as I always find it incredibly difficult to explain exactly where I am to the breakdown services if you are somewhere unfamiliar, like on a motorway. 

Old rusty American car

All at Sea

Obviously on land it is relatively easy to describe a location using towns, street names and landmarks, but on the ocean it is not so straightforward. Mariners are now using what three words to describe ocean locations…….yes the ocean is cut up into 3m squares as well as the land! Apps such as Deckee and Savvy Navvy use 3 words to help users share the location of hazards, brilliant anchorages or superb fishing spots.

Sailor with stripy top and beard and coiled rope around his shoulder

Disabilities

Many people with disabilities have difficulty navigating their way around safely, and many apps are using What3Words to enable people to take the worry out of getting out and about. The app Blindsquare is used in 177 countries to assist blind and partially sighted users to access the community safely by simply speaking the three word location they wish to travel to. The app ‘Access Earth’ uses What3Words to allow users to find and rate places on their accessibility.

Leisure

The use of What3Words is a great way to inform others about interesting places to visit. Bimble allows users to use What3Words to share information about hidden gems in the community, and foody apps like SoFo help direct users to their favourite cuisine. For the campers, there are apps which use What3Words to help you accurately locate camp out-spots and park ups, many of which may be in remote areas so the precise location is a huge bonus. There are apps for horse riders such as the ‘Harry Hall Riding App’ which track a rider’s location in real time, and have a falls detection feature which then sends the What3Words location of the fallen rider to emergency services. For Wild Swimmers, the app ‘Swimplaces’ shares What3Words locations of the best wild swimming locations around the globe to make them easier to find.


Future

What3Words claim they are providing a solution for a future filled with voice-controlled devices, drones and driverless cars. Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Mitsubishi have installed the capability into their vehicles sat navs. You can say the three word location to your vehicle and it will take you to that 3 metre square anywhere in the world. Hermes parcel delivery have integrated the system into their customer apps in the UK to allow accurate parcel delivery. Drone software often has What3Words built in to allow accurate take off and set down location points.

How does it actually work?

If you know the 3 words of a location, you can input it into the What3Words app and it will link you over to Google maps, Apple Maps, Waze and many other navigation software apps. To find the three words of your current location (the feature I use when beachcombing) you press the location arrow within the app and it will tell you the three words of the 3 metre square you are standing on. Below is a seaglass necklace in my shop which was found on the seaglass hunter’s paradise, Pentewan Beach in Cornwall, UK. The location’s What3Words are Novelists.Worldwide.Love.

Product description of a sea glass necklace from Nauti by Nature Designs

It is important you say or input the words accurately. When using the What3Words from the example above, the correct description is shown at the top, but similar words provide very different locations….one in Chukotka and one in Alaska.

Example of variations on location from similar words on What3Words App

 The app allows you to save locations as a favourite if you want to go back there ….just think you will never have to remember where you parked your car again! 

Some of the words used are quite amusing. ‘Forgotten.Previous.Husband’ is somewhere in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Tells a tale! Download the app and tap on some of the squares around you. I guarantee there will be some unusual combinations. 

The example below illustrates how accurate the system is. The area I have chosen to pinpoint is a relatively small rock just off the coast of Torquay in Devon, UK.

Three maps side by side showing the United Kingdom, Torquay and Thatcher’s Rock from What3Words app

Thatchers rock isn’t actually too large as you can see from the map. It actually looks like this in real life……snapped from my sailboat while passing.

Thatcher’s Rock off Torquay, Devon, UK

Apparently Thatcher’s Rock is so named because from a certain angle it looks like a thatcher working on a roof. Plenty of those in Devon even these days! Truth is, you could scramble over the rock in a few minutes. But on What3 Words, Thatcher’s rock is amazingly separated into this many squares……

What3Words map of thatcher’s rock, Torquay, UK detailing all the squares

 I think this example really illustrates the accuracy of the detailed location a 3 metre square provides. 

In my listing I also provide the old fashioned map co-ordinates of the location for the traditionalists, but I think What3Words is a super fun way of letting someone know the exact location of the pin in a map.

I can’t wait to get out there and share more exciting locations using this fantastic system.

Goodbye.For.Now 

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