Five Questions about Mapping Apps with what3words

January 21, 2015

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The georeferencing systems that are currently in use are great for machines but inefficient for people, Sheldrick said. They are complex and difficult for non-geo-experts to understand, yet georeferencing is critically important, as most places around the globe have either inadequate address systems or no addresses at all.  For example, if you want to make an appointment with a friend to meet at a specific door of a stadium or hotel, the traditional geocoded systems can’t help; the doors don't have a unique address. But with w3w, the door will be clearly defined by a unique three-word group. In fact, w3w covers the entire globe with 57 trillion 3-meter by 3-meter squares, each with a unique three-word identifier in eight languages.

Q: Imagine that I want to deploy an app that requires geolocation services. Why should I use w3w?

A: w3w provides a simple way to enter a precise location into a website or app, far easier than the GPS coordinates equivalent. Also for displaying a precise location to a user so that user can do something with the location, a w3w address is far easier than a latitude/longitude pair.

Q: From the technological point of view, can I combine WebMaps’ APIs with w3w? How could I improve my WebMaps with w3w? 

A:  You can integrate the w3w API alongside any other solution where you are using latitude and longitude. The w3w API simply converts in both directions between latitude and longitude and w3w, so you can use it in any application whatsoever.

Q: What is the difference between the free version and the paid version? 

A: There is currently no paid version. Everything is entirely free whether you use our online API or offline SDK to do your conversions.

Q: Have you got case studies? 

A:  Yes, we have a range of partners across multiple sectors.  Our blog,, lists our integrations, and there are some particularly exciting ones coming up over the next couple of months. They will be posted on the blog as they go live.

Q: What is the profile of a typical partner? What do I need to become a partner? 

A:  A typical partner will be anyone who has a location element in their app and experiences some level of inefficiency or difficulty in their or their customers’ use of street addresses or GPS coordinates. If this experience is suboptimal in any way, it can likely be improved by supporting w3w in the search bar and/or display options. As w3w grows as a supported system across the geospatial, logistics, navigation, travel and public sectors, users will be keen to see w3w support across the applications and services that they rely on.

Q: How do you plan to monetize w3w? 

A:  We are building services around autocorrect, voice input and offline. We don’t know exactly what we will monetize in the future, but as we build up a range of services, there will be ways for us to monetize some of our services to businesses, whilst always allowing low volume business users to use w3w for free depending on their situation. It will always be free for consumers.


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