Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth

Describe Any Location On Earth In 3 Words 478

Posted by timothy
from the what-if-your-location-server-is-down? dept.
First time accepted submitter jameshumphreys writes "London startup what3words has successfully launched a new website which has carved the world map into almost 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, assigning each square a simple, unique 3 word address. For instance, the 'what3words' for the famous Peter Pan statue in London's Hyde Park is 'union.prop.enjoy'. This means you can easily describe even remote locations with great precision. CEO Chris Sheldrick says, 'We see our service being most useful where current methods of describing location (e.g. postcodes or ZIP codes) don't do the job well enough or don't do the job at all — but of course it has applications as a preferred alternative even where the existing solutions do a decent job, but perhaps less precise/customised than w3w.' An API is planned 'in the coming weeks.'" The heart of Disneyworld could be "Radioactive Humanoid Mice"; what would you call your neck of the woods?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Describe Any Location On Earth In 3 Words

Comments Filter:
  • by Valentinial (2980593) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:17PM (#44300021) Homepage
    Hot Frickin' Desert
  • ... "putrid.dung.heap"?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      ... "putrid.dung.heap"?

      And why should we expect that to be a unique identifier?

      "Miserable.lying.bastards" could be applied to so many places it's not funny.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        ... "putrid.dung.heap"?

        And why should we expect that to be a unique identifier?

        "Miserable.lying.bastards" could be applied to so many places it's not funny.

        Primarily: Washington DC

        Dirty.Greedy.Scum: Pick any Wallstreet investment bank

    • I don't care where it is, I'm moving to fuck.that.shit

  • Without being able to look up the mapping from the database, the three words don't seem to be useful.

    Perhaps it be paired with Longitude and Latitude; making a really useful yet *boring* system all of a sudden more *fun*, yet still accessible without access to the database.

    • Re:no.no.no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:33PM (#44300345) Journal

      "Without being able to look up the mapping from the database, the three words don't seem to be useful."

      Exactly, consumer! Our awesome new system replaces those pesky, confusing, 'numbers' that hurt your little head and interoperate with basically any map, globe, or other geography system on earth, with three simple words that are meaningful only in the context of our proprietary service! Isn't it great?

      Just think of the possibilities: will it be more lucrative to charge fees for service? Or maybe mine people's queries for marketable insights about their behavior?

  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joshua Shaffer (2895571) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:19PM (#44300059)

    It's a TinyUrl for map coordinates, but more human memorable?

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:19PM (#44300061)
    embrace.extend.extinguish anyone?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, I am confused how this is better than longitude and latitude? I can use L&L offline, and it can have almost an infinite precision. Also, with my memory I am no more likely to remember the 3 words here than a long string of numbers.

    • by Hobadee (787558)

      So, I am confused how this is better than longitude and latitude? I can use L&L offline, and it can have almost an infinite precision. Also, with my memory I am no more likely to remember the 3 words here than a long string of numbers.

      *ALMOST* infinite precision? Add another decimal place and you get better precision. Keep adding them and you get infinite precision. Hell, you could keep adding decimal places until you get down to a specific atom! (Although that would be rather silly and probably impossible to actually measure with today's technology.)

      • by yotto (590067)

        So, I am confused how this is better than longitude and latitude? I can use L&L offline, and it can have almost an infinite precision. Also, with my memory I am no more likely to remember the 3 words here than a long string of numbers.

        *ALMOST* infinite precision? Add another decimal place and you get better precision. Keep adding them and you get infinite precision. Hell, you could keep adding decimal places until you get down to a specific atom! (Although that would be rather silly and probably impossible to actually measure with today's technology.)

        Until you get so small as to bump into the realm of Quantum Mechanics, and then you literally can't say for certain - ever - if a specific thing is at one location or another.

    • by slew (2918)

      So, I am confused how this is better than longitude and latitude? I can use L&L offline, and it can have almost an infinite precision. Also, with my memory I am no more likely to remember the 3 words here than a long string of numbers.

      You can't charge licensing fees for L&L, but you can for OneWord shortcuts to a 3-word location name...

      Do you mean why is it better for you ? Well, you'll have to answer that one for yourself...

  • So they give everywhere 3x3 meter square a random three words name to make it easier to tell some one the exact place you are refering to beacause it may or may not have postal code, have they not heard of gps coordinates it?

    • Have you not realized that three english words are easier to remember than 12-20 random numbers?
      • by mblase (200735) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:33PM (#44300343)

        Have you not realized that three english words are easier to remember than 12-20 random numbers?

        ...unless you're not an English speaker.

        Which is significant, if this is being used to identify locations on a *global* scale.

      • But what reason would you use those 3 words? "Street, street, city" is the 3 word human memorable identifier that is already in common use.

      • Remembering three English words is only useful if there was some descriptive value to the words tying them uniquely to that place. So you tell me to meet you at foo.bar.baz. Where the hell is that? How do I get there from plugh.plover.frobozz?
      • Re:um okay (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:59PM (#44300747)

        57 trillion locations, with three words each, with no duplicate IDs. Hmm, 38,000+ uniquely spelled words required to be able to do this.

        Hmmm, not sure whether I know 38,000 uniquely spelled words or not. But I'm willing to bet most people don't.

    • by Endovior (2450520)
      Pretty much, yeah... an interesting idea, but more or less useless, in my opinion. The only advantage words have over numbers is that words can be easier to remember. Unfortunately, these words are only accessible online. If you have web access, then more or less by definition you have a device that you can takes notes on. Accordingly, you can record exact coordinates with essentially the same amount of effort it'd take to record random words.
  • by mveloso (325617) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:21PM (#44300091)

    why.not.another
    cheese.ball.central
    i.hate.periods
    t.l.a

  • And people will immediately start injecting their beliefs into it, and it will devolve into competing sides trying to "define" a specific thing.

    So if I say "fetid.corrupt.assholes" for Washington DC, and someone says "freedom.defenders.awesome", those two aren't reconcilable.

    This is just a chance for everyone to try to shout loudest to assign their own description of something.

    It's a "big.pointless.exercise".

    • The words are pre-filled for all locations, apparently arbitrarily(with respect to their natural-language meanings), I assume that they used some cute math trick, maybe a hash of some flavor to munge (latitude, longitude) into a unique triplet selected from the dictionary, rather than assigning them fully randomly and having to store the whole collection, rather than being able to re-generate as needed; but they don't say.

      Of course, for a low annual fee, you can buy a shorter 'Oneword'(tm) to advertise you

  • Corrupt Incompetent Assclowns

    Or CIA.

  • load.of.bollocks

    Search

    We couldn't find any results for load.of.bollocks

  • like 1 million pixels but with earth?

  • TFA fails to mention you have to pay to assign words to a location.

    • Okay, that kind of ruins it. Important information I wish we would have had.
    • by Endovior (2450520)
      Kinda sorta. All possible locations already have random words... if you want to change those words to some other word, they charge money for that. Probably not worth it, obviously; anyone doing so now is essentially speculating on the expansion of the system... like trying to buy up common domain names on a newly-opened TLD in order to sell it off later and/or benefit from hypothetical traffic to come once people start using that corner of the net.
  • one better (Score:5, Funny)

    by lactose99 (71132) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:26PM (#44300205)

    I'll describe the entire Earth in only 2:

    Mostly Harmless

  • why.choose.english

    Is it safe to assume that is it universally acceptable to use three random English words?

  • English is in decline, better choose a language used by a greater percentage of the earth's population. Mandarin and Spanish have more native speakers, perhaps we should use one of those.

  • "massing.ensemble.alters"

    Latin characters? Really?

  • Of course the whole thing is, you won't be able to find anything without their APP! Only for those that can not wrap their heads around the concept of Latitude and Longitude, which by the way, can get you a lot closer than a 3x3 meter square!
  • What is correct? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:29PM (#44300257) Homepage
    Horse, battery, staple.
  • middle.of.nowhere

  • Three words seems a bit excessive when it can be easily done with two words.

    Earth's A$$hole = New Jersey

    Thanks! I'll be here all week...
  • No Such Agency. @ 39.109, -76.746
  • While every square on the grid can be identified by three words, wouldn't it make sense to use a single word to describe coordinates of a few thousand key high traffic locations? After all, being able to geolocate to part of a field in Wyoming has considerably less value than a identifying the entrance of an art gallery, restaurant or popular landmark in a major city. Heck, make them meaningful, too. "Trafalgar" could geolocate the centre of the fountain in Trafalgar square (an admittedly stupid place) whil
  • itsa.smallworld.afterall...
  • Why crowded? Because it's Summer and temperatures are in 3 digits (F) inland.

  • Considering mailing addresses in some places are essentially landmark references rather than proper street addresses, this might actually be a useful tool if there weren't any GPS.

    My address in South Korea, for example, was "pumpkin patch" and the town I lived in, with the house number. My street name was never once listed on my mail. For anyone other than the mailman, finding my house based upon my mailing address was a nightmare. I had to give specific directions from known locations. (Obviously the h

  • Continuity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seyyah (986027) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:50PM (#44300625)

    I'm sitting at beach.country.pineapple and my co-worker is at closing.rheumatoid.begin. How does that help someone find out if he's 6 feet away or 6000 miles away?

    And how do you spell "rheumatoid" again?

    • by sootman (158191)

      It's completely useless unless you are connected to and can do lookups in a gigantic database. So in other words, it's completely useless. So what if it's easier to remember and say than, say, lat/lon coordinates -- lat/lon has a dozen other advantages. If you need to refer to a place by name to someone, agree on a meaningful name. "Use this prebuilt list of a trillion random names" is pretty dumb.

    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      I'm sitting at beach.country.pineapple and my co-worker is at closing.rheumatoid.begin. How does that help someone find out if he's 6 feet away or 6000 miles away?

      And that's why this is a lame idea. Several comments compare it to the DNS system. Well, with DNS, the user generally does not care where 2 devices are in relation to each other. With geographical location, relation between 2 points (usually where I am and where I want to go) is VERY important.

      So they've reduced the signal to a form easier to communicate and remember (compared to long. and lat. coordinates), but removed all usefull information in the process.

  • Soundalikes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish.info ... com minus author> on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:51PM (#44300647)

    ...could provide a few special moments.

    Stockholm Central [what3words.com]

    Route 4, near Rutland VT, USA [what3words.com]

    In the South Atlantic, about 250 km off the coast of Argentina [what3words.com]

  • Rednecks, fruitcakes, rattlesnakes
  • Who said a yellow cat with a pink ribbon would sell millions? Social but only 140 characters and one sentence.....

  • Portland, OR

  • Location, location, location.

  • by XB-70 (812342) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @03:00PM (#44300767)
    Apart from the fact that, at the very basis of the concept, non latin alphabet words pose a problem, there is no relevance whatsoever to the words used.

    That said, I live at:

    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.Antidisestablishmentarianism

    which also proves that the concept has no merit.

  • by paiute (550198) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @03:04PM (#44300827)
    stupid.fucking.idea

    or more accurately:

    google.please.buyus
  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @03:14PM (#44300951) Homepage Journal

    Star Trek Into Darkness did it better.

    In that movie, a set of four 2-digit transporter coordinates has enough resolution to distinguish a location on a planet in another solar system from a moon of Jupiter.

    (Also, using a transporter the size of a duffel bag (including power source), you can transport someone from Earth to Kronos. Never mind that the planet is light years away, Earth and Kronos are spinning on their axis, both planets are going around their respective suns, both systems are traveling through space in different directions, and you're doing this from a seated position in a damaged ship whirling out of control. Also, the transport is instantaneous - it goes at warp speed without a ship!)

    (Oh, and let's hide the ship underwater [youtube.com], even though the indigenous population wouldn't be able to see us if we stayed in orbit.)

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @04:11PM (#44301691) Homepage

    For instance, the 'what3words' for the famous Peter Pan statue in London's Hyde Park is 'union.prop.enjoy'

    What's wrong with "peter.pan.statue.hyde.park.london"?

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

Working...