Even in the most developed countries, a complicated and inefficient addressing system means packages get lost in the mail, tourist attractions cannot be found, and meetings are missed. Although it may seem as though this app would only smoothen the irritating repercussions of an incorrect address, its applications aim to be much wider. The apps true promises lie in the possibilities it can offer to the most remote places on earth and their inhabitants. Currently, around 4 billion people live in a place that does not have any house numbers or street names. This also means that they are out of contact with essential services, cannot report a crime, receive deliveries or aid, or even get a bank loan and vote, all because they have no way of precisely identifying their address. Despite the over 57 trillion squares and unique word combinations, the app’s developers have built in error-detection, which ensures everyone is able to identify a precise location easily.
There are many fields which can benefit from a system of addressing such as this one, ranging from tourism and recreation to navigation, logistics, and commerce. However, the viability of what3words as a universal system for pinpointing exact locations will be determined by how widely it is adopted by individuals, businesses, and governments. The company hopes to make the process as easy as it can, as the system is free to use, easily downloadable in the form of an app and compatible with almost all smartphones. The company also provides businesses with an API which can be used to add What3words to their products.
By creating a simplified and universal mapping system, What3words gives people who may have previously not had access to basic services, an identifiable address — literally putting them on the map. Interested in knowing what your 3 words are? Explore the map.