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Police Scotland - officially using what3words app to pinpoint locations
membershipPostMarch 10, 2021, 09:00
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March 24, 2015, 10:28
Normal topicPolice Scotland - officially using what3words app to pinpoint locations

As of Tuesday 9th March 2021 Police Scotland will now use the ‘what3words’ app to help pinpoint a particular location in emergency situations in addition to traditional addresses.

What3words works by gridding the Earth into 3x3 metre squares - the coordinates of each are then given three unique words to pinpoint an exact location. This will be useful for members of the public who are contacting the police from rural or unknown areas.

“What3words will help frontline police officers and staff to locate members of the public quickly when they are calling from an unknown or rural area. When Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, we know that people may want to venture further from home, to remote or rural locations. What3words does not change the requirement to ensure that you are properly prepared if heading to the hills, always have a map and compass and ensure that you have your route planned out in advance." Superintendent Iain MacLelland

More information about what3words can be found on the what3words website

Message Sent By
Lynn Black (Police, Constable, National Rural Crime Scotland)

Here's an article in the London Standard about it.

I'm sitting here at moons.baked.racing

Our bay window is noses.whites.even !

Obviously to use it, you need a smartphone, a GPS signal and a little bit of nous, but say you took a little used path through Astley Ainslie, tripped and broke your ankle (or came across someone who had done so ...), you fire up the app, get the three words for your exact location, and call the emergency services.

The top of Arthurs Seat is paper.hooked.flank !

MLewisPostMarch 10, 2021, 13:35
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February 12, 2020, 10:07
Normal topicPolice Scotland - officially using what3words app to pinpoint locations

How is this better than old-fashioned grid references?

membershipPostMarch 10, 2021, 14:09
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March 24, 2015, 10:28
Normal topicPolice Scotland - officially using what3words app to pinpoint locations
Quote from MLewis on March 10, 2021, 13:35

How is this better than old-fashioned grid references?

... because it's down to 3m accuracy, and the three words are more easily understood over the phone.

"Each what3words language uses a word-list of 25,000 words (40,000 in English, as it covers the sea as well as land). The lists have been manually filtered to take account of word length, distinctiveness, frequency, and ease of spelling and pronunciation, and to reduce potential for confusion, and remove offensive words."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What3words

MLewisPostMarch 12, 2021, 16:57
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Normal topicPolice Scotland - officially using what3words app to pinpoint locations

because it's down to 3m accuracy, and the three words are more easily understood over the phone.

I would argue that:

1. If you are lost in the mountains or on the moors, a search party is just as likely to find you if they know your position to the nearest 100 metres as to the nearest 3 metres.

2. To use this system, you need: (i) a mobile phone capable of downloading apps; (ii) a mobile data signal; (iii) a GPS signal; (iv) a sufficient grasp of English to be able to read and pronounce the relevant words without risk of misunderstanding.

3. If you've got (i), (ii) and (iii) above, you also have the means to find your grid ref. If you have none of those things, you can read the grid ref off a conventional paper map.

Well, that's my opinion for what it's worth.

membershipPostMarch 13, 2021, 08:10
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March 24, 2015, 10:28
Normal topicPolice Scotland - officially using what3words app to pinpoint locations

Fair enough!

You are correct that there is an expectation that you have a mobile phone with you, preferably with the app already downloaded (it's free) - that's (i)

(ii) and (iii) are pretty good these days ... plus this is not just about being lost in the mountains.

(iv) we'd better not go too far discussing that !? (It could be that you can press something to send the what.3.words to the emergency services - I haven't delved into it far enough. It's also available in different languages ... and I anticipate the problem of Scottish Police not being able to understand a foreign language )

This will be very attractive to people who are more used to using their phone for everything. I love maps, but I don't think many people (enough ?) take a conventional paper map with them these days.

It must be pretty useful if Police Scotland have adopted it.

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