Navigation systems might have come a long way in recent years. However, one thing that has not changed is how we make use of it. You enter the desired location in the navigation app, and voila, the app shows you the best route to it. However, most addresses aren’t accurate enough to point you to a specific geographical coordinate. This is where what3words steps in.
What is what3words and how does it work?
What3words is a location encoding system that aims to make navigation easier and more precise. The company has divided the world into 3 metre squares, with each square being assigned a unique combination of three random words. That’s 57 trillion squares and 3-word addresses in total. The company claims that What3word addresses are as accurate as GPS coordinates. That sounds good in theory but what about real-life application?
We recently got to test out the software on the Triumph Tiger Sport 660 motorcycle that supports My Triumph connectivity with the what3words app built in. Apart from Triumph, a range of car and two-wheeler manufacturers already offer the what3words system in their vehicles, including TVS, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, and more.
To up the ante, I decided to put the app to test somewhere where regular navigation wouldn’t work too precisely, on the outskirts of the city in a rural area. The location I decided to head to, was Damdama Lake in Sohna, Haryana.
Instead of simply searching for ‘Damdama Lake’ on a navigation app like most of us usually would, I decided to make use of the what3words app and fill in the words “different.minute.irritated” in search, which helped me head straight to a point where I could comfortably park the motorcycle.
Then, I proceeded to capture some great lakeside pictures, and even indulged myself with a boat-ride in the lake. It was surprising to see how accurate what3words was, and hence, I decided to test it out some more, taking a longer route back home. This time around, I decided to play around with multiple 3-word combinations to go from one point to another instead of just using the old, boring yet reliable way to type in my home address on the maps.
Fortunately, the what3words system was just as reliable and I ended up reaching home earlier than I had planned, having spent a wonderful Sunday morning all by myself (and the lovely baby Triumph Tiger of course).
A new navigation app?
While the navigation on the My Triumph app isn’t the best by industry standards, you can easily search for the location on the what3words app and use your preferred sat-nav app. Considering the opportunity of introducing a brand-new navigation app that could employ their software better, we got in touch with Giles Rhys Jones, CMO, What3words.
During the interaction, Giles revealed to us that it is actually the opposite of what the company plans to do. What3words intends to not have its own app in the future, and instead, be integrated into all leading navigation apps and software. What3words is already built into KakaoMap – the leading navigation service in South Korea. It’s a matter of time before we see it being a part of our favourite navigation apps.
Other noteworthy applications
While what3words can be extremely functional in day to day usage, it can turn out to be life saving in case of an emergency. Providing the exact location in a situation of distress over a call can be difficult, for example, a car crash somewhere out on a highway with no nearby landmarks, or a stranded hiker. What3words aims to eliminate that trouble. In fact, the company claims that a host of emergency services and NGOs around the world are already using the system to find and help people in need.
Apart from that, leading logistics, e-commerce, delivery, ride-hailing, travel businesses and organisations also use what3words to improve efficiencies and enhance customer experience. With what3words, gone are the days when you needed to search for the latitude & longitude. Just 3 word addresses are enough to get the exact pinpoint location.