All you need to know about what3words

Did you know that there is an app called what3words that can pinpoint your exact location, wherever you are in the world? Here, disability consultant Helen Dolphin explains the benefits of downloading the app today.

It can be difficult to tell the emergency services exactly where you are when you breakdown. You usually know what road you are on, and maybe even the last junction you passed, but other than that there is little for those trying to find you to go on. However, there is now an app called what3words that can pinpoint your exact location wherever you are in the world. This is clearly useful when you breakdown but also if you get lost in a field, forest or mountain. In addition, you don’t need a phone signal to use the app.

The app has divided the world up into 57 trillion 10 ft by 10 ft squares, with each box given a code devised by an algorithm consisting of three ordinary English words. For example, one of the squares in Loch Ness is called crusher.scorecard.sprays, one of the squares in the Eiffel Tower is investor.savings.lance, and one of the squares in the Statue of Liberty, America is planet.inches.most.

Urquhart Castle at Loch NessLoch Ness, Scotland 

what3words uses shorter and more common words for built-up areas and more obscure references for remote locations such as Siberia and the middle of the ocean. To avoid any confusion, homophones, which are two or more words having the same pronunciation, but different spelling have been excluded e.g. sale and sail. There are also no rude words. As well as English, what3words is available in 46 other languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Welsh.

Breakdown assistance and cover

Your Motability Scheme car or WAV is covered for breakdown assistance for the whole of your lease. Cover is provided by RAC Motability Assist, which provides full breakdown support for Motability Scheme customers.

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Many emergency services across the UK now accept 3 word addresses from 999 callers who would otherwise struggle to say exactly where they need help. Recently the app was used by a passer-by to inform Horndean fire services of the precise location of a fire in a forest,  by a motorist to inform Suffolk Police of a broken down vehicle on the A14 and by HM coastguard to locate a fishing vessel when one of the fishermen fell ill.

However, it is not just emergency situations where this app is proving to be useful. Hikers, cyclists and bird watchers have been some of the first adopters of the app. They have used it to share the precise starting points of hikes and cycle races or the location of birds. The app would also be useful for things like music festivals if you got split up from your friends or for meeting people at a park or on a beach. Furthermore, The British Museum has tagged all of its artifacts with the three-word code for the location where they were found and the delivery company Hermes now enables customers to input their precise preferred delivery location with just three words.

what3words is completely free to use and is available for both Apple and android devices. Once you have downloaded it all you need to do is set your language choice and you are good to go. You can either click on the grid to see the location address, for example where you are right now, or you can type in any address to find out its three word code.

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From the Motability Scheme


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