Lost in LA? Fire division can discover you with What3words location expertise – TNE

What3words location tech for emergency response

What3words assigns three-word labels to every of 57 trillion 10-foot-square patches on Earth. The Los Angeles Fire Department now makes use of the expertise for emergency response.


If you get misplaced in Los Angeles’s mammoth Griffith Park, texting three phrases may allow you to discover your manner. The hearth division of the nation’s second-biggest metropolis stated it had partnered with What3words, a digital location start-up that offers each spot on Earth a novel and easy three-word title.

The Los Angeles Fire Department had been testing What3words since 2020, utilizing the expertise to pinpoint locations that emergency crews wanted to achieve even when the websites did not have standard addresses. The 3,300-employee division initially was drawn to the expertise as a result of it could be helpful for incidents within the wilderness, the place individuals can inform you the place they parked however cannot present an handle.

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Now the expertise is getting used in school campuses, stadiums, waterways and gigantic Home Depot parking tons. The division additionally desires to get What3words to work higher with incidents on freeways, in addition to get its different expertise suppliers so as to add What3words help.

“We’re finding the use of that tool is expanding to areas where we didn’t think of before,” stated LAFD Chief Information Officer Scott Porter.

The partnership is one other instance of how deeply digital expertise can have an effect on our lives. The potential of our smartphones to find us, plus a steadily extra pervasive cell community protection, means assist will be summoned increasingly more simply.

What3words assigns a three-word label to every of 57 billion 10-foot-square patches on the planet. For instance, the doorway to Universal Studios’ Revenge of the Mummy journey is at frames.lamps.chest. (The website is simply north of LAFD station 51 at amused.frogs.harsh). The expertise is proprietary however free for customers to make use of on the corporate’s app or web site.

Offering a novel label for every spot on Earth is not a brand new thought, because the centuries-old latitude-longitude system reveals. But lat-long coordinates have critical shortcomings, Porter stated. That consists of difficulties discovering coordinates with a telephone and sharing these coordinates with emergency dispatchers and responders.

“Lat-long is hard to deal with and fraught with error,” Porter stated. “With 16 digits, you make one mistake and you’re in a completely different part of the world.”

LAFD will get What3words places in 4 methods. 

The first is thru 911 calls on Android telephones or iPhones. In a lot of these situations, the RapidSOS system robotically stories a exact location to the division, whose geographic monitoring software program robotically converts it to a What3words location included within the incident report. Second, dispatchers can ship a textual content message with a hyperlink that retrieves the three-word handle for the dispatcher.

People also can use the What3words app to search out their location. Lastly, increasingly more indicators, notably in wildlands, establish What3words places.

What3words is also constructed into many vehicles and utilized in some nations’ postal programs. The firm’s newest investor, Ikea, is within the expertise for package deal supply. 

“They are scaling up online delivery internationally,” What3words Chief Executive Chris Sheldrick stated of the furnishings big. “They see how we are revolutionizing address input for e-commerce and logistics.”

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