Why might I need the what3words app in an emergency?
Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time day or night and often in unfamiliar places. This can make describing your location very difficult if you need to call 999. Having a precise location can help emergency services find you much faster, and what3words is a way for you to describe your location, accurate to 3x3m square, using just 3 words. These 3 words can then be shared with and used by emergency services, to find you easily.
What is what3words?
what3words is a really simple way to talk about location. It has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique 3-word address. It means that now everyone everywhere can refer to any precise location–from a specific building entrance to a point on a hiking trail or a remote spot in a field–using just three words. what3words is available as a free mobile app for iOS and Android and works offline. It is also available at map.what3words.com. what3words is global. It is available in 27 different languages, with more in development.
How does the app work?
what3words uses a GPS signal to convert GPS coordinates to 3-word addresses. To find your 3-word address or one of a location near you:
- Open the what3words app or map.what3words.com and tap the ‘current location’ arrow.
- Enable location services if prompted.
- The 3-word address will appear:
- In the what3words app: at the bottom of the screen.
- In the what3words website: at the centre of the screen.
To find the 3-word address for another location:
- Enter its street address into the search bar.
- A 3-word address will appear at the bottom of the screen in the app, and in the centre of the screen on the online map.
- To improve accuracy, zoom and move the map to reposition the square.
- To identify the 3-word address of an exact location, switching to satellite view is recommended.
- The 3-word address will update as you reposition the map. Once you have selected the exact location, note down or save the 3-word address. For more instructions on using the app, check out our‘How to’ videos on YouTube.