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Small Cabin Forum / Off Topic / what3words, an app for location ID
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# Posted: 19 May 2023 00:13

I learned something interesting and potentially very useful today. I was at an emergency services meeting. We all know that GPS coordinates are great for nailing down a location precisely. However, sometimes numbers get mangled in reciting over a phone call. People inadvertently switch two digits, or there is confusion with decimal degrees and degrees-minutes-seconds. Etc.

There is an app that can locate any 3 meter square plot anywhere in the world with three words. It is "what3words", available for ios and android. Webpage at for a fuller explanation.

The local emergency services SAR used it today to zero in on the location of a solo hiker who broke a leg in a fall.

# Posted: 19 May 2023 08:28

Interesting idea that could definitely help in emergency situations.....

There are also different horizontal datums that can further complicate the situation with lat/long....

# Posted: 19 May 2023 09:46

Our local Emergency Services have been promoting this for a few years. At one point we had the kids memorize a three word address for the house so if they could not remember the address (scared/stressed) they only needed the three words. Because each combo only covers about 3 m, it was easy to move around and find three easy to remember words. Had them posted at the telephones.
I have an app on my running watch. I know if I go down on a trail I could figure out my lat/lon but easier to communicate just three words.

# Posted: 20 May 2023 16:43

It’s a brilliant idea.

I’ve had the app on all our phones for a number of years. (I can’t see any downside to having it at the ready.)

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