What3Words…. what?


Ever struggled to find a hotel, a restaurant or a fantastic viewpoint recommended by a friend? We all love to discover new places, but finding them can be a real challenge. Many places don’t have an easy to find street address, and all too often we find ourselves trying to locate them using scraps of paper with scribbled directions. Ideally when travelling, you want to make the most of every moment, to relax and enjoy the new sights, but instead you end up stressed, driving in frustrated circles as you search for your destination.

Not any more. Innovative addressing system what3words has a smart and incredibly simple solution – 3 word addresses. What3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and given each square an address made from 3 random words. Everyone is keen to see Pieter Toerien’s current musical Evita for example, but the Teatro is not always easily found amongst Montecasino’s many buildings and theatres. Happily, those bamboozled or unable to find their way from the road can simply use the words ///pounce.coins.dreams and be led gracefully to the Teatro’s entrance. What about when Texas performs live at Emmarentia Dam, and you’re struggling to be directed straight to the parking lot?  ///bumping.boats.glove will show you.

The popularity of what3words is growing fast around the world, with 3 word addresses being used for everything from pizza delivery to disaster response.  Restaurants are now able to specify their delivery entrance to suppliers, and Glastonbury-goers can at last find their tents. Early next year, Mercedes-Benz will launch the world’s first car with what3words voice navigation, so drivers will be able to say “take me to rosters plots famous” and their car will give them directions right to the front gate of Samara Private Game reserve. With map versions in Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa launching early next year, what3words is set to make South Africa a much easier place to navigate.

The what3words app is free to download on iOS or Android and can be used to navigate to any 3 word address using Google Maps, Waze or Citymapper. Very soon What’s on in Joburg will be listing 3 word addresses for many of the great places we recommend on this site, so you’ll be able to find them all hassle-free with the what3words app. Watch this space.

Want to find out your 3 words? Simply type your address into https://map.what3words.com and zoom in on the map until you see the grid squares. Be warned – it’s a surprising amount of fun.

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