Veronica Reynolds is the sustainable travel advisor for Milton Park which is a one square kilometre office and industrial park with 7,500 employees and over 250 organizations near London. She’s been very successful at getting people to look at other options besides motor vehicles for commuting, and has installed new walking paths and connecting cycling bridges around highway infrastructure. I previously wrote about her implementation of the first autonomous public transit shuttles in Great Britain to service the park.
Veronica asked me if I knew “what3words”. I did not.
What3words is a geolocation technology that looks at the world made up of squares of three meters by three meters. That makes a whole lot of squares, and each square is given an address with three words. The addresses are translated into 43 different languages, and yes the addresses are not the translations of the same words.
Vancouver’s City Hall’s three word geolocation is putty.averages.closets.
The Cambie at Broadway transit station is starch.tinted.update.
And Milton Park in Great Britain is scores.honey.ambition. Milton Park management is now asking all the businesses to locate their buildings and pick their own what3words to be used for wayfinding.
The what3words “language” generally works with 25,000 words, although there are 40,000 in English that cover the whole globe including the oceans. Words are chosen on ease of spelling and pronunciation, and there’s no confusing or derogatory terms.
What3words make their money from B2B sales from car companies wanting bespoke inbuilt navigation systems. They are now being used by DHL and other logistics companies and by emergency services.
Even if the three word combination is entered into the geolocator and is not spelled correctly, the locator will still correct the spelling to hone in on the location.
The short video below visually describes how the geolocation works using what3words.