Imagine being able to tell anyone where you are, will be, or have been, just by using three words in their own language. Instead of explaining to you, where to meet me, I could, if you speak English, tell you, that I am at microphones.blunter.escalators. Or, if you’re German, at nett.diktat.baumstamm. If you’re Russian, I’d be at идеалисты.упускать.виноград. You get the idea.
what3words does precisely that. Instead of convoluted explanations, trying to translate road names or find the street number, you just follow your GPS to a simple three word address. One that can be written down on a piece of paper (try that with a GPS coordinate).
Its creators overlaid the whole world (yes, the whole world) with a 10×10 foot network of squares, each with its own three word name. To communicate one of them (rather than “I am at the north entrance, good luck finding North”), all you have to do is find the address in your app and communicate it.
But it gets better. Wether it’s in the Meseta, somewhere in the woods of Navarra, or the sandy roadless reaches of Zaire: it just works, and both emergency response and mail arrives. Simple.
If you’re taking your cell phone with you (and you should), install the w3w app on it (App Store, Google Play). Now you can quickly tell your Camino family where to meet for dinner, where the albergue is, or where, along the Meseta, you found a fountain that worked.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago is at knee.marriage.rockets.