Emergency services want you to download the ‘what3words’ app - here’s why

Will you download the app? (Photo: Shutterstock)Will you download the app? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Will you download the app? (Photo: Shutterstock)

A stranded kayaker rescued by using an app has urged everyone to download it as it could “save your life”.

The app is called what3words and works by dividing the world up into squares with unique codes.

This is everything you need to know about the app.

What is ‘what3words’?

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What3words is an app that divides the whole world up into 57 trillion 10 ft by 10 ft squares.

Each square has a unique, individual “address” which is made up of three random words.

For example, one of the squares in Loch Ness is called: “crusher.scorecard.sprays”.

Why is the app useful?

If you become stranded or get into difficulty in a remote location - such as a field, forest or mountain - you can use the app to share your exact location with the emergency services.

The app is also able to provide directions.

What3words is also useful in non-emergency situations.

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For example, if you and your friends go to a music festival and you get split up, you can give your friends your exact location using the app.

You don’t need a phone signal to tell someone your three-word location using the app.

How was a stranded kayaker saved by the app?

Jason Woodhouse, 33, was rescued from Loch Ericht in Perthshire after using the what3words app to help the coastguard find him, after he became disoriented on the water.

Woodhouse managed to get himself to a small secluded beach and phoned the police, using the codewords provided by the app that gave emergency services his exact location.

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The address the stranded kayaker was given by the app was “courage.nicer.fountain”.

He was winched to safety by a Coastguard helicopter an hour later.

Woodhouse said: “I would recommend everyone gets the app - it could save your life.

“I knew it would be a quick and easy way to explain to the police where I was over the phone. It was a really lucky escape.”

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Previously, the app has been successful in other emergency situations.

For example it allowed police to find a 65-year-old man who became trapped after falling down a railway embankment in Sheffield.

The app also aided the Fire and Rescue Service to find a woman who had crashed her car and didn’t know where she was.

How to use it

Begin by downloading the app either from the iOS store on your Apple device or from the Google Play store on your android device - either way, the app is free to use.

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Once you’ve downloaded it, you’ll need to choose the language you’d like to use, and after that, you’re good to go.

Once downloaded, set your language and you’re good to go.

You’ll see a map, similar to Google Maps, and across the map is a grid. Each grid represents a different address location.

You can click on the grid to see the location address, for example where you are right now, or you can type in any address to find out its three word code.

Unique address for famous landmarks

The what3words app divides the world up into unique addresses.

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Here are the three-word addresses for some famous landmarks across the world:

  • Edinburgh Castle, Scotland: buck.ears.match
  • Eiffel Tower, France: investor.savings.lance
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy: sends.situated.vase
  • Statue of Liberty, America: planet.inches.most
  • Big Ben, England: clean.wider.both