What3words adopted by 6 national mapping agencies

November 28, 2016  - By
Image: GPS World

Six national mapping agencies have adopted what3words, a location reference system that uses three-word addresses. Used to input and share locations within national online geoportals, what3words is making it simpler for businesses, governments, and citizens to find, share and remember addresses, the company said.

Based on a global grid of 57 trillion squares, what3words gives a unique three-word address to every 3 square meters in the world. Available in 13 languages, what3words is used by consumers, delivery companies, navigation tools, governments, logistics firms, travel guides and NGOs. Its creators say it’s more precise than traditional addresses, simpler than descriptions, and easier to communicate and remember than long strings of GPS coordinates.

Geoportals are an integral part of any national, cadastral or commercial mapping agency’s offering, providing businesses and consumers with vital geographic information, the company said. The datasets range from information about land ownership, taxing of land parcels and defining borders, to providing population statistics, changes in land use and integration of transport networks.

Whilst geoportals offer a wealth of detail, the user experience can be complicated and confusing. Integrating what3words into geoportals systems makes it easier for individuals and businesses to share precise locations with a simple three-word address, the company said.

“Geoportals provide users with a huge amount of data that can sometimes alienate all but the mapping expert,” said Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words. “What3words is making it simpler and easier for individuals and businesses to discover and share locations, helping unleash the power of geographic data.”

What3words has been adopted by Switzerland’s Federal Office for Topography, the French Institut Géographique National International (IGN), the Norwegian Mapping Authority (Kartverket), Finland’s Maanmittauslaitos (the National Land Survey), Geo-System Poland and Suriname’s MI-GLIS.

As three-word addresses are fixed and unique, meaning they can always be found. The system works offline, using GPS without needing mobile data, and has built-in error detection to ensure the user always selects the location they intended.

Since its launch in 2013, what3words has experienced tremendous success and with over twenty major awards has become one of the most lauded UK startups in recent times. In 2015, the company was awarded the prestigious Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Innovation and was named in the Nominet 100 alongside the likes of Google’s Project Loon. Earlier this year the business was awarded an exclusive D&AD Black Pencil, two prestigious Webby Awards and CEO Chris Sheldrick was named EY’s British Accelerating Entrepreneur.

This article is tagged with and posted in GIS News, Mapping, Technology

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.