what3words is an app that allows you to communicate your location to within a 3m square anywhere in the world using just 3 words.

For example, “homeward.being.barks” marks the entrance to the Misbourne control centre for Endurance80 (screenshot from a PC).

what3words is used by 75 of the English and Welsh emergency services to locate people.   Emergency services recommend you have the app on your phone and know how to use it before there is an emergency.   The app can be found on Apple app store and Google play store.  More details about what3words can be found here.

What to do if you need assistance or are lost

Endurance2020 is recommending what3words to all walkers.  While most walkers have little problem working out where they are, mission control does on occasions get phone calls from lost teams who struggle to know where they are or from teams with an emergency of some sort. It has been decided that the use of the what3words app would greatly help mission control to find lost teams and identify where they are, and speed up getting help to a team as required.

Make sure you download the application and practice using it before you have to use it in an emergency.

What to do if you need assistance or are lost

1) ensure the GPS/location services is activated on your phone.

2) open the what3words app.

3) click on the compass or find my location icon which should centre the map on your current location, show a blue dot with your GPS location and display your 3 word location (look at the map shown and zoom out to ensure the location looks correct).

4) either phone or text the emergency phone number with your location and nature of emergency. You can use the “share” function and select “message” to send the location direct from the application. If you use text, we will respond confirming receipt of your message within 5 mins, if you do not get a response please phone.

Known issues and things to remember

  1. GPS location services use more battery power so suggest you only turn them on during an emergency

  2. GPS/Location services need a clear view of the sky and time to lock on to satellites to give the most accurate location data. Getting location indoors or under trees or in the shadow of something is often slow or inaccurate so move to open area if possible.

  3. What3words does not require a phone signal to find a location but may not show map if you are in a poor phone reception area. Clearly you will need a phone signal to be able to send the location to mission control so may have to move to find a signal or use a phone on an alternative network.

  4. Ensure the app centres on you location and your location looks correct before you send it (we do not want to despatch the search team to Western Australia to look for you !)

  5. We have seen times when clicking the compass or my location icon does not centre the map or show you current GPS location (not clear why) if this happened click on “navigate” then “Compass” and a box will appear at the bottom showing “current location”

  6. Location showing on the app seems to keep changing, this is because the accuracy of the gps signal you have is poor or you are on the boarder of 2 or more 3m squares. This is not usually a big issue and moving into a clear sky area should settle the signal.

For more information or questions do not hesitate to contact us.