This is absolutely brilliant. Like everything brilliant it is simple, so very very simple. This is a concept that I’m really surprised has never been thought of until now.
Let me explain it and then talk about how really really and really really useful it is.
Ok, imagine our entire planet divided into 3 metre by 3 metre squares. 3 metres is the same length as two humans, one on top of the other, or lying on the ground head to toe. In other words, a 3 metre by 3 metre square is actually quite small. Our planet can be divided into 57 trillion 3 metre by 3 metre squares. That’s a lot of squares.
And yet, each square would be a far more precise and accurate way of explaining where a place actually is.
A guy I know was involved in gathering data for the Census in 2011. He was looking around properties in remote areas and also around the back of commercial premises in busy cities. And that was just in parts of the UK. Trying to establish the actual addresses was a near impossibility. Likewise, plenty of addresses are along the lines of ‘The Blue House, Clearwater Village, Devon’. They have no actual street address nor any way of indicating where they are for those who don’t have local knowledge.
Now, imagine this problem multiplied a thousand times for shanty towns or remote places in other less ‘organised’ countries.
So, the best way to share a location is to give a quite specific 3 metre by 3 metre square’s location. The simplest way is of course to supply a latitude and longitude, but who can ever remember all those numbers? And things like ‘zip codes’ or ‘post codes’ are designed to represent a much larger area. Again, leaving it near impossible to find exactly where a door might actually be, no matter how well addressed a parcel might be.
The solution is the 3 metre by 3 metre squares which are geographically set. But, how to ‘label’ them.
The answer is to give them a unique three random word name. Like, as an example, ‘fish.vendor.plastic’. Three easy to remember words. Odd words, yes, but easy to remember. And with just those three words anywhere in the world can be found extremely precisely. And, as I said, three words are dead easy to remember.
As an example, I live at ‘fence.gross.bats’ and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there is only one ‘fence.gross.bats’. Forget a complex multi-digit number, or a long rambling street name, town, postcode, it’s just ‘fence.gross.bats’ and so easy to remember. And ‘fence.gross.bats’ even points to exactly where I am in my house, too.
So, if you want to know where the main entrance to my place is, like if you were delivering me a lovely Thanks-for-being-Christopher present, then you’d find ‘danger.hangs.vision’. That’s easier than me saying, “Go to the left of the front of the building and not quite at the end but near the end, look for that particular gate, not the other gates … etc., etc…” I just say ‘danger.hangs.vision’ and that’s it.
To translate the three words back to exactly where they refer to, you of course need an app. Interestingly, the app doesn’t need to be on-line and all the three word locations fit nicely into just 5MB, yep 5MB. That’s no space at all for the entire planet, is it?
And if you don’t want to use an app, just go to the website, find yourself on the map (ideally, find your front door), and simply remember your three word address. That’s it.
I think this is the most exciting development in decades. It should revolutionise the way we address things, and bring the 75% of the world who can’t be easily found, back into the fold for easy parcel deliveries, emergency attendance, and all needs, instead of valuable time being wasted looking for a person. It needs to be officially adopted by as many countries as possible, as quickly as possible!
More about it here: what3words.com