We’re now using what3words

Mulga News

One of the difficulties many of us have is how to communicate our exact location to others when we are in unfamiliar surroundings such as on regional roads or places where there is no actual street address. This is made particularly stressful if you become lost, or you come across an incident requiring the assistance of emergency services.

what3words has created an easy solution to this problem. They have divided the entire surface of the Earth into 3 metre x 3 metre squares and allocated a unique three word address, such as ///induce.transcript.fashioning, to each of these squares.

what3words shows the different locations of 3 cyclists on the Morgan's Lookout access road, Walla Walla, NSW
These 3 unique what3words addresses show the positions of our cyclists on a unnamed private road. Morgan's Lookout, Walla Walla, NSW.

This combination of three words, known as a what3words address, is as accurate as GPS coordinates but much simpler to pass on to others.

Anyone can use what3words by installing the free what3words app on their phone or by using the what3words website.

All emergency services in Australia now accept and use what3words addresses

Australian emergency services have added what3words into their free Emergency Plus app to help a Triple Zero (000) caller provide critical location details, quickly and easily.

For example ///murky.founding.spoonfuls is the what3words address of a precise location along the northernmost tip of Flinders Island, which helped Ambulance Tasmania locate a bushwalker who had broken her leg - read more.

We have personal experience, away from our bicycle tours, of using the Emergency Plus app to call an ambulance. The detailed location panel, which includes the what3words address, allowed us to easily describe our location to the operator. The Emergency Plus app also provides a button to initiate the Triple Zero (000) call without the need to open the phone app which can hide the location details screen.

As well as being useful in an emergency what3words can also be very helpful in a social situation when trying to find family and friends in large crowds, open spaces or even whilst touring on a bicycle.

The what3words app is intergrated with Google and Apple maps
To get directions or provide directions to a what3words address open the what3words app and follow these steps: 1. Enter the address into the what3words app. 2. Tap ‘Navigate’, and 3. Select ‘Google Maps’ or ‘Apple Maps’ which will open with directions to the what3words address.

Importantly, the what3words and Emergency Plus apps still provide you with your what3words address even when you do not have mobile reception.

In these circumstances it is important to remember that if there is no mobile coverage on any network you will not be able to call Triple Zero (000) service via a mobile telephone.

If you don’t have any mobile reception, we recommend writing down the what3words address of the incident, or saving it in the what3words app, before moving to another location to find a mobile signal.

If Triple Zero (000) cannot be contacted using your mobile phone whilst you are on tour with Mulga Bicycle Tours you should try to use the UHF radio we provide all our tour guests to communicate your location to your tour leader who can then pass the what3word address information onto emergency services using a satellite phone.

It is because of their usefulness and ease of use we ask all our guests to install the following three apps on their smart phone before joining our tours: