There is no such thing as a foolproof addressing system. Lattitude/Longitude coordinates are extremely accurate, but most people are just confused by the string of numbers. Physical street addresses are easier to understand, but also harder to find in unfamiliar places and often inaccurate. Now, a new startup company is attempting to revolutionize the way we give directions and discover new locations.
The company what3words has taken the entire globe and divided it into a grid of 3 meter by 3 meter squares–a total of 57 trillion squares. Each square is then assigned three random common words to identify that particular spot. The ingenious thing about this mapping system is the level of accuracy without the need for special equipment or any additional knowledge (which is often the case for latitude/longitude).
For example, the front step of the White House is located at librarian.candle.complains., while the Statue of Liberty is at odds.blues.neon. On what3words homepage, you can drag the map around and play with it yourself. And I can tell you, it’s plenty of fun.
Of course, the downside is that this could really only take off if everyone started using it. If I called my father and told him to meet me at dolphin.cupcake.glass he would probably think I went crazy. However, the simplicity of this system is pretty sweet and (unlike GPS coordinates) I think I might actually be able to get my non-tech friends to use it. And that’s just first world perspective. In developing countries where street addressing is poor or nonexistent, a system like this could be incredibly helpful for visitors. The more I think about it, the more places I could see this being incredibly useful. Then again, as with all new things, it really depends on how well it takes off.
The app is available for download on both iOS and Android, and can be used both online or offline for both mapping and directions.
Here’s a video from the website explaining a little better how it works:
Even if it doesn’t work, I definitely applaud the concept. So what do you think… is this going to replace latitude/longitude coordinates? Do think think it will take off? Let me know in the comments!