what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares. It has given each square a unique combination of three words - a what3words address. ///tortoises.swarm.announce, for example, will take you to a precise location on Ben Nevis where in February 2020 a group of hikers were rescued.
The app is free to download for both iOS and Android and works entirely offline – making it ideal for use in areas of the UK with an unreliable data connection. what3words can also be used via the online map at
. The technology is available in over 40 languages, including Welsh, and can be used anywhere in the world.
‘Where’s the emergency?’ is one of the first questions you are asked when calling 999, but saying exactly where you are in a tense situation can be challenging.
Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a remote beach in Scotland, to the side of the M1, to the middle of Hyde Park. Services often can’t detect where you are automatically and dropped pins are difficult to explain over the phone. Landmark-based descriptions are prone to errors and GPS coordinates are long and difficult to communicate. At best, this is a frustrating drain on resources. At worst, it can mean the difference between life and death.
Derbyshire Constabulary is proud to use what3words, and it has been used a number of times to help us to ensure our resources are sent exactly where help is needed. We do have other ways in which we can find people in an emergency, but what3words is a recognised system we use in force too.