We are delighted to welcome what3words to our annual conference this year! What3words divided the world into 3 metre squares and gave each square a unique combination of three words. It’s the easiest way to find and share exact locations.
Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a road collision in the middle of the countryside to an incident outside a specific stadium gate. In an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical. This can be near impossible if you are in an area with no address or if that address isn’t good enough to describe exactly where you are. For example, postcodes can apply to areas over one square mile and in London alone there are 14 Church Roads – making it easy to end up at the wrong one. In rural locations like farms, beaches, coastline or moorland, it’s even more difficult to communicate location accurately. Callers who don’t know where they are often use their phones to try and find themselves via a pin on a map – but it’s difficult to describe that pin to someone over a 999 call.
Emergency services are often forced to waste precious time and resources trying to locate people in need of help. This can be frustrating, and at worst it wastes crucial minutes that are the difference between life and death. Now, callers can give their what3words address. If they already have the app, they can use it to find the three words and, if not, the call handler can send an SMS with a link so they can see their what3words address.
The three words can then be used by the control room to identify the precise location and direct resource to exactly where it is required. They can also be used to share location consistently between blue light and specialist emergency services, for example between fire, police and ambulance as well as services such as the Coastguard and search and rescue teams. Prior to using what3words, heavy resources would often have to be dispatched –such as a helicopter fly-over – in order to locate the incident.
Take a look at some of their resources below and see if you can name some of the organisations which use What3words!