(Wired ) Chris Sheldrick is sitting in swan.dust.pillow.
You Can Map the Whole World With Just Three Words
SEPTEMBER 04, 2013Cade Metz, WiredSheldrick is the British entrepreneur behind What3Words, an online service that divides the entire planet into three-meter squares and tags each with three familiar words. Swan.dust.pillow is a tiny piece of land in the middle of Hampstead Heath, the massive urban park in north London, not far from Sheldrick’s home, and across the globe, there are nearly 57 trillion other squares.
This global map has a charm few others can match. The spot where you’re sitting right now has been transformed into a tiny kingdom, with its own name. If you like, you can even buy another name for it, choosing your very own one-word tag. “It’s rather magical to divide the globe into nine-square-meter blocks and resolve them into just three words,” says Geoff Jenkins, an Australian who’s been tinkering with the service. “It’s almost counter-intuitive.”
But Sheldrick and the two other Brits behind the service, Jack Waley-Cohen and Michael Dent, aim for something more. They hope to make it easier for anyone to get anywhere, no matter how remote the location. Rather than relying on street addresses or postal codes — which may get you only so close to your destination — What3Words lets you pinpoint a location and pinpoint it in way that doesn’t require, say, a seemingly endless string of GPS coordinates. “There’s an ease to words,” Sheldrick says. “It’s a way of encoding a huge number into something memorable.”Read more: Wired