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Thread: What3Words

  1. #1
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    Default What3Words

    Don't know if peeps have come across this, but it kinda strikes me as a very handy tool/service for people paddling/dog walking/etc off the beaten track who meet with some unfortunate accident.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47705912


    https://what3words.com/

    Simply, with just 3 words your position can be pinpointed to a single 3 meter square anywhere on Earth.
    Also handy for identifying put-ins, get-outs and places to meet.

  2. #2
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    Saw that this morning, quite good for the non-map users and it being global etc. Coincidentally the 3 words for my bedroom had chainsaw in it
    Cheers,

    Alan


  3. #3
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    I'm not convinced of the utility of this in the UK. There are plenty of mapping apps that will give a 8 or 10 figure OS grid reference, locating to within 1m, or latitude/longitude position that can be converted to a grid reference. In mountain rescue we use an app that triggers the casualty's phone to send its location as a grid reference to our incident control. This integrates with the search management and mapping software and greatly speeds up our response. Sometimes we are able to then talk someone down the hill if they are simply lost. Our local ambulance and police services are both aware of the system and have used it successfully too.
    Obviously it is dependent on phone signal strength, but in our area we have found that where there is enough signal to make a call there is usually enough to use the app too.
    Last edited by Gordon G; 27th-March-2019 at 10:57 AM.

  4. #4
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    Interesting.

    I tend to think in the UK we already have a great system with OS Grid refs (the app OS Locate being one of several which give you an instant reference with the ability to share it, as well as a compass that actually allows use on a map (though I wouldn't rely on it myself!).

    However, I can see that this What3Words approach might grab the attention of the public more easily, and could therefore be a better way of approaching the subject; some people are worried about not understanding grid references. Quite a clever approach.

    I am currently in brass.soap.cloak.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  5. #5
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    Enjoy your latte.milk.tiffin
    Cheers,

    Alan


  6. #6
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    Have you ever been sitting on a train or bus and overheard a conversation which has left you completely baffled? For me, reading these posts is like accidentally eavesdropping on a NASA technical conference............Having set the scene, and I think I know the answer, I take it a telephone connected to the Internet is a requirement for this new '' where am I rescue me " idea?

    My Doro pensioner's phone with big buttons will not tell me where I am, I take it?.......

  7. #7
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    Enjoy your latte.milk.tiffin
    That takes me to latte.milk.muffin, in the middle of the Black River on the border between Columbia and Venezuela (I assume latte.milk.tiffin doesn't exist).

    The combinations seem entirely random, but it's amusing to see what exists - lost.canoe.paddle is in China (possible a small but dirty stream?), silly.walks.ministry is in Angola, etc!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post

    The combinations seem entirely random, but it's amusing to see what exists - lost.canoe.paddle is in China (possible a small but dirty stream?), silly.walks.ministry is in Angola, etc!
    And a whole new sport is born!
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  9. #9
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    open.canoe.sank, is in deepest Alaska, not far off the Yukon. Seems perfect!
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    open.canoe.sank, is in deepest Alaska, not far off the Yukon. Seems perfect!
    This can't be entirely random, canoe.mountain.lake is just over the river!
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  11. #11
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    Mind you, canoe.portage.rapids is in the middle of the ocean between Chile and Antarctica...
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  12. #12
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    The major problem for the system is it assumes everyone in the world speaks and spells English, also unlike a grid based system there is no way of knowing the relative distance between points

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nantcoly View Post
    The major problem for the system is it assumes everyone in the world speaks and spells English, also unlike a grid based system there is no way of knowing the relative distance between points
    and they have a phone that can handle it.

  14. #14
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    Having had a little play the 3 word system it seems very random, even within a small area, you would hope that the words would be somewhat more focussed so that a typo wouldn't send you off to the South Pole rather than just the next town?
    DCUK
    Can't ytpe or roopf read

  15. #15
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    Doesn't seem completely random I found the following amusing the results from the middle of the Gulf of corryvreckan

    Grudge yachting issue

    Amplifier engine shipped


    However a field outside Tadcaster has the following

    Many boating supported



    They seem to have omitted some less commonly used words I can't find any squares containing the word scuppered

    Ewan

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  16. #16
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    Having been on a Scout first responder training course this week it appears that they are advising the use of What3Words through most of the emergency services now. I can definitely see the benefits of this system in giving a quick location for an emergency scenario. If you are not confident with grid references or do not have a map on you then it is a quick and easy location system for emergency help allowing you time to get on with the important things like saving a life.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  17. #17
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    they are advising the use of What3Words through most of the emergency services now
    Is that authoritative? I did search recently to find out which, and couldn't find many. Apparently they have to pay to use it. There are also some views about suggesting it's not as much of a good idea as it seems:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what3words-confusion-suitable-emergency-response-gary-delaney

    https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2019/03/why...t-three-words/

  18. #18
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    You want to worry mate .... I’m currently globule.beatable.hugged ... think I’ll move

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Interesting.

    I tend to think in the UK we already have a great system with OS Grid refs (the app OS Locate being one of several which give you an instant reference with the ability to share it, as well as a compass that actually allows use on a map (though I wouldn't rely on it myself!).

    However, I can see that this What3Words approach might grab the attention of the public more easily, and could therefore be a better way of approaching the subject; some people are worried about not understanding grid references. Quite a clever approach.

    I am currently in brass.soap.cloak.
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”

  19. #19
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    I quite like being at slurping pegs guess

  20. #20
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    Currently I am in (a) daring.lion.race - while sat at my desk! Which I have to say sounds a lot more fun than the 8-figure grid reference, but is much less useful to navigate by.

  21. #21
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    I would prefer to use an app such as
    GPS share If I chose to use my telephone
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....sharelocation

    This way I can send my latitude and longitude location as a text message without need for a data signal but also include a Google Map link without a data signal which is useful to

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

  22. #22
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    I know where I am (I'm at home) ... I have a map and I know how to use it so I also know my OS Map Grid reference, I have a portable Garmin GPS Map, it confirms my OS coordinates and also tells me my Lat/Long in whichever format I like ... I like digital as it's easy to input into the cars Sat Nav ... any of these I can tap into a PC and see/say "yep, that's where I am". Google Maps tells me I'm there too :-)
    All of this existing technology (and more, the emergency services can locate you from your mobile phone signal) already work really well.
    What 3 Words, I am still failing to see how this is helpful in any way at all.
    "Hi Dad, I'm at Radish/Sprouting/South" ... good for you, when you've recovered enough to talk sense and tell me where you are I might come and pick you up.
    DCUK
    Can't ytpe or roopf read

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    Is that authoritative? I did search recently to find out which, and couldn't find many. Apparently they have to pay to use it. There are also some views about suggesting it's not as much of a good idea as it seems:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what3words-confusion-suitable-emergency-response-gary-delaney

    https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2019/03/why...t-three-words/
    I must admit their website does make out that this is open software and free to use so that is a bit naughty however they have put in the effort so why shouldn't they be rewarded for their efforts?

    The LinkedIn story just sounds like a Loc8 advert to me. I imagine Loc8 may be a better system for wilderness locations, I have no idea having never used it.

    The course I was doing was a scout based one so it is likely that in an emergency situation it will be at an organised event with activities distributed over a large area. All leaders will have a contact number for the emergency services on site so it would be very quick to open the app and share your location with them using the three words especially if the on site services are using it too.


    Quote Originally Posted by E_McNeill View Post
    I would prefer to use an app such as
    GPS share If I chose to use my telephone
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....sharelocation

    This way I can send my latitude and longitude location as a text message without need for a data signal but also include a Google Map link without a data signal which is useful to

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    I like the look of this App, thanks for sharing. Basically the same philosophy but with real co-ordinates.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  24. #24
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    I completely don't understand this whole thing. First off, I don't use a so-called "smart" phone, just an old-fashioned flip-phone, so I don't think I could use it anyway. But, more importantly, it depends on there being a signal, doesn't it? Most places I travel, there isn't any (because there's no people, which is why I'm there... ). I have a marine vhf radio, I carry a SPOT tracker, and I have 2 compasses and very good maps - (and my dog has an excellent nose... ) so, imo, this sort of thing is of no help to me at all. Just my 2-cents.

  25. #25
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    The last time I called the police about five years ago, I was ready with a six fig grid ref.

    Unfortunately I was told they don't use grid references. "We need your post code". I was sat near a river bank off a public footpath watching a poacher snatch salmon. I doubt the poacher knew the right post code either.

    The phone operator was sat in Northallerton and I was sat at home having walked 100 yards from where I was viewing the river, back to my house.. "What is the name of the road you are on?" was the next question, followed by; "What is the name of the nearest town?". I explained that the offence was taking place elsewhere.

    What followed was me having to direct the operator who was carefully trying to follow my directions over the phone. "OK, can you see Whitby? Good!, Follow the blue line. It should say River Esk. OK, follow that until you get to a village marked Ruswarp..." and so on. Hopeless!

    I have not had to call the police or emergency services again, but if my experience was anything to go by then this one just won't work either. I recently attended a refresher 1st Aid course and the instructor did suggest they'd got the hang of grid references now, but never mentioned this 'What3word' system.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  26. #26
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    David,
    a few years back a group of my trail-riding mates came across some walkers stopped on a byway. One had fallen and snapped a leg. One of the riders rode to a place he could get cell coverage and phoned for an ambulance. Same thing happened "what's the post code ?, what road are you on ?" he explained that he was about a mile from a road, but gave the nearest road junction. He was called back by an air ambulance dispatcher and gave him grid reference and landmarks. The helicopter landed in a field about 50 yds from the casualty.
    As an aside, I think people are a bit quick to call an ambulance. Often, incidents are far from life-threatening and tie up resources. I was walking my dog in the woods once and came across paramedics attending a kid with a suspected broken arm. First aid anyone ?. Sling made out of a shirt, walk home and hope your Dad isn't too cross that you fell out of a tree again !!

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