What3words location tech for emergency response

What3words assigns three-word labels to every of 57 trillion 10-foot-square patches on Earth. The Los Angeles Fire Department now makes use of the technology for emergency response.


If you get misplaced in Los Angeles’s mammoth Griffith Park, texting three phrases might assist you find your means. The fireplace department of the nation’s second-biggest metropolis mentioned it had partnered with What3words, a digital location start-up that offers each spot on Earth a novel and easy three-word title.

The Los Angeles Fire Department had been testing What3words since 2020, utilizing the technology to pinpoint locations that emergency crews wanted to succeed in even when the websites did not have standard addresses. The 3,300-employee department initially was drawn to the technology as a result of it will be helpful for incidents in the wilderness, the place folks can inform you the place they parked however can’t present an deal with.

Now the technology is getting used at school campuses, stadiums, waterways and gigantic Home Depot parking heaps. The department additionally needs to get What3words to work higher with incidents on freeways, in addition to get its different technology suppliers so as to add What3words assist.

“We’re finding the use of that tool is expanding to areas where we didn’t think of before,” mentioned LAFD Chief Information Officer Scott Porter.

The partnership is one other instance of how deeply digital technology can have an effect on our lives. The means of our smartphones to find us, plus a steadily extra pervasive cell community protection, means assist can be summoned increasingly simply.

What3words assigns a three-word label to every of 57 billion 10-foot-square patches on the planet. For instance, the doorway to Universal Studios’ Revenge of the Mummy journey is at frames.lamps.chest. (The website is simply north of LAFD station 51 at amused.frogs.harsh). The technology is proprietary however free for customers to make use of on the corporate’s app or web site.

Offering a novel label for every spot on Earth is not a brand new concept, because the centuries-old latitude-longitude system exhibits. But lat-long coordinates have critical shortcomings, Porter mentioned. That consists of difficulties discovering coordinates with a telephone and sharing these coordinates with emergency dispatchers and responders.

“Lat-long is hard to deal with and fraught with error,” Porter mentioned. “With 16 digits, you make one mistake and you’re in a completely different part of the world.”

LAFD will get What3words places in 4 methods. 

The first is thru 911 calls on Android telephones or iPhones. In lots of these situations, the RapidSOS system mechanically experiences a exact location to the department, whose geographic monitoring software program mechanically converts it to a What3words location included in the incident report. Second, dispatchers can ship a textual content message with a hyperlink that retrieves the three-word deal with for the dispatcher.

People can additionally use the What3words app to find their location. Lastly, increasingly indicators, significantly in wildlands, determine What3words places.

What3words is also constructed into many automobiles and used in some international locations’ postal programs. The firm’s newest investor, Ikea, is in the technology for package deal supply. 

“They are scaling up online delivery internationally,” What3words Chief Executive Chris Sheldrick mentioned of the furnishings big. “They see how we are revolutionizing address input for e-commerce and logistics.”

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