A navigation tool for travel
Something you’ll see on the Out&About with Dayv website are mentions of places using a unique three word reference – something like w3w.co/overlaid.squashed.menu. You may also see this written, at times, as ///overlaid.squashed.menu. These three words are actually a reference to a grid of three metres by three metres square on the ground.
Well, back in 2013 some smart people in the United Kingdom divided the world into a series of three-meter grids. Yep, the whole world! Even Mawson’s Hut in the Antarctic can be found on what3words at w3w.co/diaper.commandingly.homeschooling.
Please don’t be distracted by the three words themselves. They are just random words and they have been translated into 35 languages.
This short video may help explain what3words better than I can – Click here
To jump on board, download the free app from Apple (https://apps.apple.com/au/app/what3words/id657878530) or Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.what3words.android&hl=en) and get Out&About.
Why use what3words
Well, as a cartographer (in my early days) and as an officer instructor with the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC), I am more than comfortable with grid references or even latitude and longitude figures. But there are several grid datums in use around the place and not many tourist maps include them. Similarly, latitudinal and longitudinal references are fine, but very difficult to find on maps and a little tricky to plug into your GPS – although it can be done.
So, why not use Google Maps or one of the other apps? Well, as a traveller and camper, I’m sure you’ve had occasions where you have typed in the address of somewhere you want to go and Google Maps has given you a ‘pin’ in the middle of the property with no real indication of the entrance location or office etc. Give it a go – look for the ‘NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park at Narrabeen in Sydney’ (one of my favourites when in Sydney).
Google Maps’ location for the caravan park at Narrabeen in Sydney.
You can see from Google Maps where the caravan park is. However, you can’t see how to access the park from the busy roads not where the office is.
But, if I gave you the what3words reference of w3w.co/puns.kind.entire, you’ll find the app takes you right to the ‘STOP’ sign on the road outside the office.
Now, at the bottom of the screen in what3words, you’ll see a button saying ‘Navigate here’. If you select that, you can choose from a variety of maps to take you to this location. Try it – select Google Maps and you’ll get this.
Not bad after a long day on the road and a whole lot safer for all – I think you’ll agree.
If all that’s a bit heavy, take time to digest it, have another read and perhaps drop me a line. But most importantly – give it a go, have fun and get Out&About.