(This blog is not quite dead – still hoping for contributions from others. Meanwhile here is some information that I hope is useful.)
I’ve been reminded recently that if you need to call emergency services while out in the bush it can be difficult to define your location precisely. It’s not as if you can provide a nice simple street address. Latitude and longitude coordinates from a phone or GPS device are precise but prone to error. If the 000 operator mis-hears one digit they could note down a location tens or even hundreds of kilometres away.
The what3words service is an elegant solution. It divides the whole planet into a grid of 3 m squares and each square is labelled with three common words. If audio transmission is poor then words are much less prone to misunderstanding than numbers. There is a what3words app you can find here.
Not only is this useful, it’s well accepted by the emergency services. In fact what3words is even built into the national Emergency Plus app which was developed jointly by all the states and Commonwealth. You can get that here. The app also gives direct access to 000 as well as a number of not-quite-so-emergency services such as SES, poisons information, etc.
Worth getting both of these apps on your phone; they available for both iPhone and Android. Here’s a screenshot of Emergency Plus with the what3words reference at the bottom (but camouflaged to protect my privacy).
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