A couple years ago, when we were exploring southern France, we stayed in country houses. They were absolutely lovely places, but first, we had to find them. Of course, we had addresses of the houses and had pinned the locations on the smartphone map. It didn’t help. The countryside houses were impossible to find using the address alone. Minor roads didn’t have signs, houses didn’t have numbers, maps didn’t show roads correctly. Only a phone call to the landlord saved us.
If I had known then that there is a solution, I would have requested the landlords to tell me the What3Words addresses of their houses. Asking for geographic coordinates – long series of numbers – is out of the question in most cases, but asking for an address that can be specified in three words is simple. Additionally, the address consisting of three words is unique in the whole world.
How is it possible? What3Words has created a global addressing system that is based on squares 3 by 3 meters in size. Every three-meter box has a unique address that can be expressed in three words. Don’t want an English-language address? Many common languages are available as well.
Finding a house with What3Words you have booked for your vacation
If the landlord of the house in the Bordeaux wine region had told me that her address was: banjo.strategy.ruffles I would have opened the What3Words map, and typed the address words in the search box. That’s it. Even though the map doesn’t even show a house at the location, there are old farm buildings and a stone house that can be rented.
An application is available for Android and Apple mobile devices for navigating to the destination.
Where exactly was this photo taken?
Here is a photo of houses and cyclists in a village in Andorra.
Where exactly is this place? The address is billionths.uppermost.cornered (under a big tree there is a picnic bench by a river).
The Guardian has examples how people and businesses in South African countryside are using What3Words for their specific needs.
What3Words is a clever system. It is really easy to use, addresses can be memorized, different languages can be used.
The challenge is that it is a parallel concept to street addresses and geographical coordinates. Would it be possible to have What3Words addresses in holiday home rental services, like Homeaway and Gites de France? I would rent my next villa from a service like that.