Wednesday, 4 September 2019

What3words - the app that chops the world into 57 trillion squares

The app What3words essentially points to a very specific location. Its developers divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 3m by 3m (10ft by 10ft) and each having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address.

For example, the door of 10 Downing Street is slurs.this.shark, while the area across the road where the press congregate is stage.pushy.nuns.

It was born out of company founder Chris Sheldrick's postal-related problems growing up in rural Hertfordshire. "Our postcode did not point to our house," he said. "We got used to getting post meant for other people, or having to stand in the road to flag down delivery drivers."

Ten years in the music industry, which involved trying to get bands to meet at specific entrances to their venues, also fuelled his frustration.

"I tried to get people to use longitude and latitude but that never caught on," Mr Sheldrick said. "It got me thinking, how can you compress 16 digits into something much more user friendly? "I was speaking to a mathematician and we found there were enough combinations of three words for every location in the world." In fact, 40,000 words was enough.

What can I say, but Cheers from Denmead!

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