What Three Words: Revolutionising postcodes

Postcodes have been around for quite a long time but were never meant for locating something specific. Many properties on a street can share a postcode and as we all know when waiting in for an Amazon delivery, they are not the ideal way to find the location of building. So, we need to combine a house number, sometimes a building name, a street name and a postcode to ensure that items arrive or someone turns up at the right spot.

What if, however, you'd like someone to be able to find their way to your desk? or your garden? or your car parking spot?

What3words is a brilliant concept that has already been adopted by several organisations including the emergency services. The concept is that with just 3 words you can geolocation a place down to a 3m x 3m square. That means you can direct someone or something to your back door or a particular spot in a cafe.

 

In the app (available here), you just search for an address and it gives you three words to find it. There are 57 trillion possible combinations but these 3 words work like a mnemonic and are a great deal easier to remember than a full postal address. 10 Downing Street, for example is:

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This is explicitly for the front door of 10 Downing Street (or at least the 3x3m square that the door is in). This has all kinds of applications. It's brilliant for developing countries that do not have a postcode system or infrastructure. You'll literally be able to locate a tent in a field and have stuff delivered there.

If you broke down on a motorway you could direct the recovery service to your exact location. You're waiting in airport terminal to meet someone and you can give them the 3 words of where you are standing etc. etc. the list goes on.

 

It remains to be seen how widespread the system becomes but if it takes off it will certainly make locating places a whole lot easier.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.