What three words???

saphena

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#1
This forum is hosted on a computer whose address is 64.91.250.198, spotwalla is hosted at 104.130.144.170. The people involved in building the internet realised some while ago that humans aren't good with long numbers (and those are only short ones in comparison to the latest standards) so arranged for us to use addresses like 'forum.ironbutt.org' and 'spotwalla.com' instead.

For the last 100 years or so we used to remember and use telephone numbers up to 14 digits long, we were fine. Now though, many just say "Siri, call my wife". I know that my wife's number begins 07724 but after that it's a bit hazy because I never dial it, I just click the button marked 'Linda'.

In the UK, specifying locations of buildings for navigational purposes most often involves the use of a postcode. For other locations and for anything outside the UK we normally specify GPS coordinates. I want to introduce a more human-friendly mechanism: what3words.

what3words is a layer that sits on top of latitude and longitude and allows everyone, worldwide, across all platforms, analogue and digital, to easily communicate their precise location. It doesn't replace any existing systems but it gives us a tool for when a traditional street name and number won't do (in the middle of the park, on the side of the mountain or in countries where we struggle to understand the language). What it does replace though is the thorny question of what coordinate format to use. Garmin BaseCamp currently recognises 44 different formats for grid coordinates, which do you use and is that the same one that everyone else uses?

We all know where the Commando Memorial is and, straight off the top of the head, most also know its coordinates: N 56° 53' 54.3624" W 4° 56' 38.1948", 56.898434 -4.943943 or NN 20800 82425. For the rest, the address "alas.gurgling.supposed" might be easier to remember and certainly easier to convey over the phone. Each 3m x 3m square of the planet is labelled with three words which uniquely and permanently identify it. The front gate at Squires is "skimmers.devalued.entire"; the toilet block out back is "fictional.surcharge.caravan".

This system is already in widespread use with emergency services, local authorities, major companies and even Premier Inns (the one at Hayle is "donation.marathons.assures"). It supports multiple languages. German users might prefer to identify the Commando Memorial as "teurer.ihres.postbote" but either will work.

You can't yet key these addresses directly into your satnav but the what3words.com website lets you use them with a variety of online maps; free apps are available for all smartphones and I have added a lookup facility to our website at https://ironbutt.co.uk/w3/w3w.php.

DO NOT PANIC! Your manliness will not be affected by use of this system, you won't be forced to turn gay even if you live in Brighton and you won't have to rush out and buy new equipment to use it. Using actual coordinates, postcodes or even full street addresses will continue to function normally but at the very least you should download the app to your phone so that when you fall off your bike in the middle of nowhere you can easily and accurately tell the air ambulance where you are. If you are publishing coordinates, maybe consider specifying the unambiguous 3word address instead of whichever format you currently use or at least listing it alongside the numbers.
 

owl*

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#2
I used what3words on my handlebar mounted phone running alongside my Garmin 660 on the recent trip to Calais Styles. Identical navigation on both. Very impressed by how easy it was to find the 3 words, input them and go.
 

michiel kerkhof

European Ride to Eat Coordinator
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#3
This forum is hosted on a computer whose address is 64.91.250.198, spotwalla is hosted at 104.130.144.170. The people involved in building the internet realised some while ago that humans aren't good with long numbers (and those are only short ones in comparison to the latest standards) so arranged for us to use addresses like 'forum.ironbutt.org' and 'spotwalla.com' instead.
ddress instead of whichever format you currently use or at least listing it alongside the numbers.
Oh my god....what am I getting myself into now??? I have no clue where to start with this....my old GPS is repaired in USA and on it's way here I hope my old system coords are still working on that 1 then I dont have to go tru all this nonsense
 

owl*

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#6
Like it or not, it's going to be the future.

All of the emergency services in the UK are now using it, as far as I know.

I imagine future satnav devices will use this as opposed to lat/longs eventually. If stand-alone satnav devices survive the mobile phone onslaught, that is.
 

owl*

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#9
Not yet, as far as I'm aware It will come, though.

The point, at the moment, is that 3 words will give you a unique location of just 3 x 3 metres if you are using a phone for navigation.

When I look at the location of my own driveway, there are different 3 words for the entrance, front door and several points in between, it's that accurate.
 

saphena

IBAUK Webmaster
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#10
I am struggling to see the point:confused:
That's because you're old John :)

Garmin have a widget, what3words for Garmin, which works with a bunch of garmin products. Tom Tom keep dithering and doing confusing press releases. A whole bunch of mobile navigation apps work with it.

Old people will continue to do things the old way. That's a basic law of life. My father could never see the point of computers at all.
 
Last edited:

GSears

Premier Member
#11
Not yet, as far as I'm aware It will come, though.

The point, at the moment, is that 3 words will give you a unique location of just 3 x 3 metres if you are using a phone for navigation.

When I look at the location of my own driveway, there are different 3 words for the entrance, front door and several points in between, it's that accurate.
That's cos you've got a big gaff