Mapping The Globe Using Three Words

A new mapping service, called What3Words, could spell the end of postal codes while being the perfect partner for voice-activated search.

The unique three-word codes are accurate to two meters and are a result of What3Words dividing the world into 57 trillion three-meter squared boxes and giving each one a code using three words from the English dictionary.

For example, the code “planet.inches.most” takes you to the Statue of Liberty.

Using the Google Maps API, What3words serves up a Web, Android and iOS app, each letting you search for and identify locations based around, well, three words. It’s touted as a new universal address system, designed to make it easier, and more accurate, to describe exact locations anywhere on Earth.

Why It’s Hot:

In some parts of the world, the idea is already bearing fruit. The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro contains the largest shanty town or favela in the country – the district of Rocinha, home to about 70,000 people. Because of the haphazard way in which the area originally developed, its sprawling maze of lanes and alleys has never been subject to a proper system of addresses.

In places where people have no other viable way of identifying where they live, it is likely to prove a useful way of getting on the local authorities’ radar, especially as internet-based services pick up on it and build it into their systems.

Yahoo Takes The Scenic Route

Yahoo Labs is adding a dimension to their navigation algorithm that aims to provide more beautiful ways to get you to your chosen destination. Researchers at Yahoo Labs sourced images from Google Streetview and crowd-sourced user opinions about which streets were more beautiful via, then assigned an attractiveness variable to each location.

“The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant,” said Daniele Quercia, of Yahoo Labs. “Based on a quantitative validation, we find that, compared to the shortest routes, the recommended ones add just a few extra walking minutes and are indeed perceived to be more beautiful, quiet and happy.”

via Wired


Why It’s Hot?

Marketers often ask themselves how they can more effectively inject an emotional element to the work in order to get closer to what people actually feel and react to. This is a great example of taking a perfectly good pre-existing tool and adding a layer that can expose an element of beauty in what has become a very mundane and predictable experience.  This helps elevate technology to be more humanistic and useful in how it maps to real life travel behaviors.