December 2019 update – There’s an app for iOS and Android.
June 2016 – A new addressing system that maps every point on earth to a unique triple of just three words could make house number, street names and postal codes a thing of the past, According to Josh Howgego on Twitter, Mongolia is already adopting the system.
This is very curious, I found our house address and its three words, although I’m not sharing them in public just yet, instead I’ve got a phrase for the local primary school – innovator.pollution.cartoons. The church down the road comes up as warblers.fights.sharpens while the local pub is edges.market.like. Each triad corresponds to a 9-square-metre plot on planet Earth.
The online magazine, Quartz, gives three slightly more well-known examples than my local landmarks. The White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, is “sulk.held.raves”, the Tokyo Tower is located at “fans.helpless.collects” and the Stade de France is at “reporter.smoked.received.”
At first glance it may seem odd and pointless. The triads of words are not meant to be meaningful, but they are easier to remember than standard map coordinates or data from the GPS. But, more importantly, they address the problem that 4 billion people across the globe face in not having a conventional postal address, which often means they cannot access banking and other services, receive deliveries or be reached in an emergency.
Of course, seriousness aside, there’s fun to be had, just pick three words and enter them into the What3Words search box and see where it takes you…I pseudorandomly picked the words ballooning.camel.particle and apparently that’s somewhere in the South Pacific. So remember, next time you’re at a party and ask someone where they live and they say “sulk held raves” and their name is not
Obama or Clinton Trump, you know they’re lying.