Daring, lion, race: How one startup is trying to simplify location

October 8, 2018

PUBLISHED BY Ellen Hammett

What3Words has divided the world into 57 trillion squares with a unique three-word address, giving four billion people an address and making sure pizzas can be delivered to even the most remote areas.

What do the words ‘daring’, ‘lion’ and ‘race’ have in common? They will lead you to a very particular three metre by three metre square just outside Charing Cross station in London.

‘Tools.sand.stone’ will take you to a spot in Central Park in New York. ‘Sportscar.citronella.photocopiers’ marks a point deep in the Antarctic Ocean.

The world has been divided into 57 trillion of these squares, each with their own unique three-word address.

That work has been done by startup What3Words, which five years ago decided the world needed a simpler way to talk about location. It built an algorithm that converted GPS co-ordinates across the globe into three word addresses using 40,000 English words. That’s 64 trillion three-word combinations – giving enough wiggle-room to remove inappropriate or sensitive words.

“Street addressing is generally very good over the world but it’s not especially accurate,” explains Giles Rhys Jones, What3Words’ chief marketing officer.

“Pins drop in the middle of buildings. If you’re a delivery driver doing that throughout the day that’s quite a significant efficiency loss. If you’re a first responder, there can be some significant problems.”

Read the full article on Marketing Week here.

Find more information on what3words here.