It’s Not Google Maps: Here’s the App 911 Teams Say You Must Absolutely Install

Apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps typically determine your location in a very accurate way, so sharing your location with someone else is very often a piece of cake.
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But on the other hand, finding your precise location in regions without street addresses or on unnamed trails could be quite a challenge, especially if you’re trying to provide this information to the first responders.

In the last few years, this has become a major concern for emergency services across the world, as finding a solution to accurately pinpoint callers on the map was critical.

In theory, Google Maps already has Plus Codes, and they can certainly help on this front, but on the other hand, the way they have been integrated into the overall experience isn’t necessarily straightforward. Furthermore, many people don’t even know the Plus Codes exist.

This is precisely why what3words is a solution that comes in handy.

Available on the web and on both iPhone and Android (and using the native mapping platform on either platform), what3words uses a very unique approach that makes it a breeze to figure out where you are and let others know about it.

In just a few words, here’s precisely how it works.

what3words has divided the entire planet into 10-feet (3-meter) squares, and each square is given a unique address that’s made of three random words. It can be anything, from minibar.depositors.cement to capacities.goat.letting – this is being called a what3words address, and it specifically refers to a three-meter square within the app.

Whenever you provide somebody out there with these three random words, they should be able to locate you on the map with an accuracy of just three meters. The only thing they need to do is to introduce the what3words address in the app and then use the likes of Google Maps and Apple Maps to reach your location.

This is exactly why the app is used by more and more first responders across the world.

And in the most recent press release published by the company, what3words shares the opinion of several 911 teams in the United States, all of which have been using the service for finding people in remote areas or in places where determining the location would be much more difficult.

While you can read all their statements in the press release embedded below, the consensus is that what3words significantly reduces the time needed for the first responders to reach a given location, pretty much because it’s faster to figure out where it is.

As a result, having what3words on your phone is becoming a must, especially when going to remote areas with no cellular coverage – yes, the app is also working in offline mode.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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