what3words iconIf you haven’t already heard of what3words, it is a universal addressing system based on a 3-meter by 3-meter global grid. Each of the 57 trillion squares in the world has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique three word address. For example, the location of RPLS Today’s private mailbox (located at a mailing center) is located at “popped.faster.planet“.

According to GoGeomatics Canada, six national mapping agencies around the world have officially adopted what3words’ 3-word address system:

what3words, the multi-award winning location reference system, has today announced that six national mapping agencies have adopted 3-word addresses. Used to input and share locations within national online geoportals, what3words is making it simpler for businesses, governments, and citizens to find, share and remember addresses.

The six agencies who have adopted this system are:

Watch the following video for a nice overview:

Do you think any U.S.-based agencies or firms will adopt what3words? Why or why not? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Wendell Harness, PLS

Wendell was a Land Surveyor for 26 years, then moved on to building websites for his second career. But he never lost sight of the surveying community and the other disciplines related to surveying. He’s purposely stayed involved in the surveying industry because he has always been — and will continue to be — a Land Surveyor at heart.

View all posts by Wendell Harness, PLS

5 comments on “Six National Mapping Agencies Adopt what3words

  1. The three words for an adjacent cell are completely different. Depending on where I click on my home I get different and unrelated results. Without their software to look up the location the three words are meaningless. I see no real advantage to this system.

  2. I looked to see how swisstopo is using it. When viewing a web service, you can enter the what3words and it will identify the location, or if you click on a location and look at its info, what3words is one of the multiple pieces of information returned. So not replacing anything, just adding them as an alternative.

  3. This sounds like a common core math solution to the question "So, where are you from, can I buy you a drink?"


  4. The drawback or craziness, as was pointed out, there's no way tell the relationship of 2 three-word identifiers. In other words, how far is 'holly.sugar.valid' from boring.locals.mull? Or, from 'newly.gone exact'? Or from 'crossed.duped.custom'?

    The 3 words are random. So you can't plot them. It's a code to prevent determining relative location.

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