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What3Words Want to Change Your Address to 3 Words

What3Words Wants to Change Your Address to 3 Words
Written by Izak Van Heerden

In South Africa just outside Cape Town, sits a “Real Shop”.

What3Words Wants to Change Your Address to 3 Words CapeTown

Image by Shaun Gabriel

If we had to give you an address of where to find this retail outlet, we could not. No named street runs by it.

Which begs the question: how helpful is the current address system in the world? Does it serve everyone? Does it even serve the majority of people in the world?

What3Words Changes the Way You Find Locations

Our current system of street addresses has been around for at least 200 years.  What is interesting is the landscape in which technology helps us achieve that goal. What3Words is a service that plans on doing just that, by providing an interesting and unique way of finding your everyday locations.

How Does What3Words Work?

According to their Wikipedia page, What3Words is a system that takes the location you are interested in getting to and assigns it just three words to a specific 3 by 3 meters square on a map. What3Words broke the world up into 57 trillion of these squares across land and see. Instead of giving a large string of numbers for longitude and latitude, you are simply given three words separated by a dot to represent that exact, specific location.


W3W made use of a list of 25,000 words from the dictionary to accomplish this. Three words could provide a combination of up to 15,625,000,000,000 unique addresses, more than enough to cover the 57 trillion squares needed to cover mother earth.

What3Words Wants to Change Your Address to 3 Words Panama

The navigation can be done either through their website or a mobile application that can be downloaded on Google or Apple.

Simply install the app, open it up and your location will be shown as a combination of 3 words. Searching for another address? Click on the magnifying glass and enter either 3 words, a place name or a street address. Click on the destination address and the app presents you with a list of navigation programs to find your way there.

The Benefit of What3Words

What really sets What3Words apart from other map-based services and GPS’s is its ease of use and ability to reach a wide range audience in a short amount of time. People are normally put off from finding specific locations and landmarks because it can be too cumbersome conveying that information or even using a landmark for reference.

What3Words takes that complication out of the mix by simply giving keywords that people can type in on their own to locate exactly what is needed the first time around. There is no way to use this service in error because of how small the grid is set up. Due to it assigning keywords to each 3 x 3 meter location, you know you are finding the exact spot the first time around with no room for error.

What3Words Wants to Change Your Address to 3 Words New Orleans

This can be used for first responders to get to the exact spot of an accident or for the police to go to the correct location.

As Seen in Action

When going to What3Words YouTube page, you see a bevy of different uses this system could be used for. There are uses for getting packages delivered, setting up meetings, or playing a very elaborate game of hide-and-seek. Whatever the reason people find themselves needing to use this service, you will find it is very simple and easy to do.

The Way to a New Address

There is already a lot of buzz about this system on the internet. Forbes talks highly of the application and states that it is essentially the new address you will find yourself repeating back to people, whether that is a voice in your car or the traditional methods through the app.

The Best System For Us All

Regardless of your reasoning, What3Words can at least go down as one of the more innovative technologies in the navigation realm we have seen in quite some time. This is an ambitious project with a lot of use-cases that has already been seen in the day-to-day world and continues to find more ways of being convenient.

Their website allows you to take it for a test run, just to be sure it is what you thought it was. Give it a shot and see for yourself why this is the game-changer we did not think we needed.

what3words gives every 3m x 3m in the world a unique 3 word address. This one describes the precise entrance of the hotel. Click here to learn more.
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Izak Van Heerden
Izak has witnessed a couple of decades worth of changing tech. He hopes to make it a couple more until his conscience can be copied to a cyborg body.

About the author

Izak Van Heerden

Izak has witnessed a couple of decades worth of changing tech. He hopes to make it a couple more until his conscience can be copied to a cyborg body.

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