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What3Words Solve Mongolian National Problem?

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by Startacus Admin

what3wordsA few months ago we highlighted a London startup that we thought had the potential to change the world by creating an incredibly useful global addressing system based upon 3-word phrases.  

There are hints now that the team’s hard work is beginning to pay off, with a recent announcement that Mongolia will become the first country in the world to adopt ‘What3Words’ as its official system of addresses.

Within this system, the world has been divided into 3m x 3m squares (57 trillion of them to be precise) each addressed with 3 words randomly selected from the dictionary.  So for example, Mr and Mrs Dimple from Potting Lane,  Little Babbington, Gloucestershire now also live at ‘sparrow, bucket, manure’… and so forth.

It’s jolly clever really… Think about it- let's say you want to meet your friend in the middle of the ocean for a maritime meetup, you simply need to tell them ‘snuffle, cat, quadrangle’ and they will know exactly where to meet you!  


Social Impact

But more than this, ‘What3Words’ are on a mission to solve the chronic problem of address-lessness,  which is a far bigger issue that many in the more developed world would ever imagine, indeed some 4 billion people on this planet don’t have an official address.

Mongolia’s move towards using ‘What 3 words’ represents the first time that an entire country has adopted the system however, there have been many other indications that the team at What3Words are onto a winner.  Some international bodies such as the UN have already begun adopting the system to help with disaster relief efforts, with many private companies also finding it to be a more useful alternative to the more traditional cartographic means.

Being such a vast and sparsely populated country, the Mongolian government has struggled to create addresses for all of its inhabitants, since many live in extremely isolated locations. The ‘What3Words’ method offers a novel and incredibly simple solution to this problem, automatically generating a 3-word address for people who have perhaps never had one before.

Incidentally, you can find out what 3 words have been assigned to your location here.

A fantastic and progressive way of looking at the world- we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.   


An explanation of What3Words, which has been adopted as a national addressing system of Mongolia

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Published on: 16th June 2016

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