Register | Login
Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes


in: Orienteering; General

Jun 28, 2016 8:58 PM # 
I just learned of the startup what3words, which has divided the world into 57 trillion ​3x3 meter squares, and assigned each a unique 3-word address. The idea is that 3 words are easier to remember than latitude and longitude coordinates. For the estimated 4 billion people in the world who don't have a postal-style address, this provides a way for goods and services to be delivered. They also created versions in a bunch of other languages.

​I don't see any obvious orienteering application, other than it's fun to play around with the site.

quite.enjoyable.washed marks the site of my bathtub, and is a friend's front door.

Your lost.control.flag is in Russia, while your missing.punch.card is in Illinois.

brief.short.poem, which many of these locations are examples of, is in Ohio.
Jun 28, 2016 9:09 PM # 
I guess my problem is that I won't take a lot of time to understand this, but I really don't get it. A solution to a non-existent problem. Lat/Long are universal and not dependent on some completely proprietary nomenclature predicated upon, I think, complete gibberish.

And, in typical start-up fashion, you have a bloated team and slick packaging.

I will say that is useful, but that really is just repackaging existing info, not their own IP.
Jun 28, 2016 9:35 PM # 
Lat/Long are universal

Sort of. You need to know which datum is being used. Google Maps uses WGS 84, but my local search and rescue uses NAD27, which is on many printed topos. Near me WGS 84 and NAD27 differ by hundreds of meters. It's a problem when we get a series of numbers as coordinates, and have to ask "what datum? Degrees minutes seconds? Or degrees minutes decimal minutes? Or decimal degrees? Or UTM?" "I dunno" And all of those seem to be very much in use from my personal experience.
Jun 28, 2016 9:42 PM # 
I can see it being used in puzzles. Some puzzle includes three odd words, which turn out to represent some famous place, etc.
Jun 28, 2016 10:04 PM # 
I'm also a bit in the don't quite get it camp, but the three words are certainly more instantly memorable then lat/long co-ordinates.
Jun 28, 2016 10:31 PM # 
Are permutations of the same three words one and the same place or 6 different ones? Is this a way for someone to make money with, like with vanity plates? Can one protest against words one finds don't represent oNes place? I assume this is for the English speaking world only? I guess I have to go and play with it. ...... nah, too little time. ....
I do get the point, especially for people who have a hard time remembering numbers, like the spelled phone numbers.
Jun 28, 2016 10:40 PM # 
If I wanted to tell somebody where my house is, mapped.swelled.slogan might work well if there's no paper handy. Or passageway.frost.inflation. You can make up a little story around the words, and it could stick better than telling them my address. Like the story I have about the catcher in the rye being on a successful baseball team leading to remembering the "50th Rye win", which has worked for a lot of people. But the map thing would have to catch on.
Jun 28, 2016 11:26 PM # 
And how do you go about incremental movement? For instance, if I was at passageway.frost.inflation and wanted to describe a location 10 3x3 squares due north, does only one word change?
Jun 28, 2016 11:32 PM # 
No, looks like it all changes. If you make a small mistake on the words, you can immediately see that the location is nowhere near close.
Jun 29, 2016 1:04 AM # 
I think the idea may be packaged whichever way one wants to make it sound cool, great, whatever, but I really think someone with $$$$ signs in the eye came up with it. The creators: "your name.middlename.last name costs $xyz.00" I wonder how much trump.trump.trump costs, or will he ask to be paid ...... OMG, trump.trump.trump does exist, in Alaska!
Jun 29, 2016 1:06 AM # 
Maybe they will ship him there after he fails to win the Presidency.
Jun 29, 2016 1:06 AM # 
Might make some interesting map names. I'll be working on a map at "ferns.stripe.needlessly" this weekend.
Jun 29, 2016 1:16 AM # 
If you read their FAQ, they tried to monetise it by selling *single* words.

Now let's think about this. They break the whole world up into grid squares using an algorithm that means you don't need an internet connection - the words themselves encode the location. Their first step is then to sell short versions that may change over time, and therefore require an internet connection to make sure you have the latest version. Fucking genius.

My issues with the concept are:
* The end of my driveway, where it joins the road, has multiple addresses, and they're all (by protocol definition) very distinct from each other.
* They use multiple tenses and forms of the same word. For example, part of my driveway is at satins.lavished.reworking. satins.lavish.reworked is a valid address in far northern China. Easy mistake to make.
* My property has approximately 2200 addresses. Do I use the end of the driveway? The SW corner of the house? The far corner of the block?
* All the words are in english. If you translate it, does the destination language have distinct words for all the english ones?

It's one of those really good ideas in theory that is just completely whack in real life. Oh wait, it's a startup - that goes without saying. :)
Jun 29, 2016 1:30 AM # 
Your address should be your letterbox so that the postman knows where to go.
Jun 29, 2016 1:37 AM # 
I think it's predictive more than anything. I have an address in my house of:

my spa:
jokes.frames.slimy (it needs a good clean out at the moment)

and near my mailbox of:
unless.quite.bill (typical of the mail I receive)

But yeah, there are tons of addresses just within my property.
Jun 29, 2016 2:35 PM # 
Some actual addresses for the White House:

many.appear.windy (my favorite)
Jun 29, 2016 3:57 PM # 
Or you can reverse this and find where in the world these spots are:






Jun 30, 2016 12:27 AM # 
I think you'd be hard pressed to find any meaningful forest within a 500-kilometre radius of forest.running.orienteering (it's near the northern Patagonian coast in eastern Argentina).
Jun 30, 2016 11:09 AM # 
The most useful purpose for this might be for places that don't have a street address, like spots in the forest. This could work well for the geocache crowd.
Jun 30, 2016 1:44 PM # 
I think you'd be hard pressed to find any meaningful forest within a 500-kilometre radius of forest.running.orienteering

I thought that looked like a good MTBO area (depending what all those rows are) so I put in and came up with this terrible area.
Jun 30, 2016 2:51 PM # 
Looks like at the moment it has been utilised in more remote areas or countries (Mongolia) where addresses system is not well developed. Personally, I think it will sort a lot of the uncertainty in Geocode processes etc. But I am not confident it will be adopted very rapidly in urban areas, days will tell.. I have started to look on their API
Jul 3, 2016 7:42 PM # 
I was at a conference in April 2015 where representatives from what3words were speakers. As people have already pointed out here it doesn't solve any problem that exists in a country with street addresses, but for a sprawling city built with no roads/ street addresses, it allows mail or other things to be delivered as every space on the ground is an "address".

I can't see it having any use in orienteering.

This discussion thread is closed.