I was on the BBC website today and there was an article on there about an app called what3words
I'd heard of it before but the article convinced me to download the app and take a look and I've got to say I was very impressed. Basically what the app does is divide the surface of the earth up into 10 foot be 10 foot squares, then each square is given a unique label, for example "cattle.jukebox.given" which you can then use to find that site on their app(which is free), or on the website (https://what3words.com). It's a real "Why didn't I think of that" app.
It's just a much easier way of finding a specific point on a map rather than using coordinates. Imagine how easy it would be get out of the car and know you just have to look up "ranked.level.about" in the app and you'll find exactly where the car is?
Anyway, the reason I'm posting about this here is that after wombling about Finale following vague directions in a guidebook, and entering lat and long co-ords wrongly repeatedly (or the hire car sat nav not taking them in the way they were formatted in the book) that it would be great if the what3words references could be added to guidebooks, or integrated with apps, or (most easily) put on the crags page on here?
My only criticism is that you are then entirely tied to the internet. Great with charge and reception, less so without. A useful backup, or for people driving (maybe), but not a good substitute for a gridref. Think its been discussed here a few times
Yes, fair point that!
That's definitely it's down side, but there is no reason not to have this app, because you can get reception in the weirdest of places:-
Summit of Takka, Sudan/Eritrea border
Jebel Dahab, Egyptian Sinai
San Rafael Swell, Utah
Ergonok, Hindu Kush, Afghanistan
Pitch 3 of Agrippa, Craig yr Ysfa
Some interesting criticism of what3words - https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2019/03/why-bother-with-what-three-words/
Aren't there already location reporting apps that could be used to tell the emergency services where you are based on GPS, providing your location in as many or as few digits as you like (or as your GPS can accurately measure).
I don't believe you need phone signal, just GPS signal which is available nearly everywhere
There's no need for internet connection if you've downloaded a sat nav app that has w3w compatibility and offline maps. I use Navmii but others are available. Did a month's trip around Greece a while ago using a list of w3w coordinates and this app - worked perfectly with no need for mobile data at all.
...but not at the train station in Putney.
I largely agree with the article linked to by MeMeMe - I'd prefer guidebooks not rely on What3Words. It's too closed, but also not really needed for most things. What3Words solves a problem of communicating information through a lossy channel; transferring it from a page to a phone, or shouting it to your mate, but passing small amounts of information from a page to a phone is already solved by qr codes, which anyone can make and no one owns. This is what we've done in rockfax guides for a few years.
There's really no point in having a W3W code in a website like UKC, because we can just link to the location on a map - saves you a step!
The problem with it is it doesn’t mean anything. The three words convey absolutely no information unless you have the lookup table which then has to be translated into lat and long to work with satellite information from a gps anyway.
lat and long can be measured from the stars and tell you where you are in relation to another point using distance and angles. Same with OS grid in km.
It’ll never get you out of Skelmersdale
> Basically what the app does is divide the surface of the earth up into 10 foot be 10 foot squares, then each square is given a unique label
All the squares in Redditch have the label "where.am.I"
I expect in time some genius will workout how to replace English words with some global numerical system. Some numbers will go long ways, others laterally around the planet.
Again a tech company might develop some mapping app, where you can find out where you are, place markers, link and send to others, perhaps even switch between maps and satellite views.
If a person can't navigate now with the multitude of mapping systems out there, creating one more isn't likely to change anything.
> All the squares in Redditch have the label "where.am.I"
All the squares in Swindon have: Get.Me.Out.
It's also been spamming every vaguely outdoor-related group on facebook all week. Their marketing department must be delighted!
Thanks for your response very well put. Your point about lossy channels is spot on.
As it happens the guidebook I was using earlier this year had QR codes fro the crags, but they all linked to a 0 degN 0 DegE so we had to manually enter the co-ords through a particularly lossy channel (me!).
Not sure why their QR codes didn't work, could be my device or their codes? I'm sure the RockFax ones are much better!
Ah, that's a shame. It's always a bit terrifying to scatter things like qr codes throughout a book - very easy to screw them up and impossible to know at a glance if you have. Then all of a sudden you've thousands of books with glaring mistakes in them =
We have some semi-automatic checking processes right at the end to verify this type of thing, but we did screw a couple up once I remember. Something about case-insensitive file systems that caught us out I think.
In this week's Ticklist, we have a video of one of the world's hardest boulder problems, a repeat of a scary looking E8 and a WideBoy cracking on with Ondra's hardest route. Let's get to it: