GPS and geolocation have made the world feel a lot smaller. As effective as they may be as navigational and addressing systems, they’re still not perfect. The UK’s what3words has been trying to solve that issue.
The startup, founded by Chris Sheldrick and Jack Waley-Cohen, has divided the world up into 57 trillion three-metre squares that are identified by a unique string of three words like “table.chairs.lamp”. This makes the system easy to use for the non-technical, it says, and is more accessible than longitude and latitude or the traditional address and postcode.
Its app is free to use for the individual but it monetises through software licensing deals with businesses and NGOs based on their need and the volume of the area they want mapped.
Navigation apps, delivery companies, municipal governments, and even the UN are using the what3words system for various uses, according to Giles Rhys Jones, the startup’s director of marketing.
Tech.eu spoke with Rhys Jones at the recent 4YFN conference in Barcelona after the startup picked up the KPMG award for Best British Mobile Startup at the event: