we can send each other a location that’s pretty much inch perfect just by text so we can meet up.
WhatsApp and Google Maps both do live tracking without the need for sending a text. It just opens up a live map within the app and you can see the relevant contacts right there. All they need to have done is share location so in a situation where you can’t talk or can’t hear a ringtone/text alert (like at a festival or something), you can still meet up even if you’re both moving around.
W3W, if you move from the location you’ve specified, it’s near useless unless you’re still within sight of it.Posted 1 week ago
sure, there are plenty of ways of doing it. W3W is just a bit of fun for us. there are any number of ways of doing it, why do you care?Posted 1 week ago
What I would give W3W credit for is sucessfully mainstreaming an app that gives emergency servies a quick (and mostly reliable) location. Yes, previous solutions existed but they also relied on user adoption. If you surveyed the average non-experienced mountaineer I would bet that more have W3W or a similar app now than they did 5/10 years ago. Perhaps it’s less to do with their algorithm and more to do with their marketing but I think the net result has been positive.
It would be useful if there was an inbuilt check where it could automatically detect if one word is entered wrongly. That way, if emergency services didn’t have some other data to immediately flag the error it could still be detected. However, this would obviously reduce the possible permutations and it might have to become What4Words…Posted 1 week ago
your phone can equally report your position using a string of numbers based on a pre-existing international standard
Yeah just like IP addresses for negotiating the web. Oh, hang on…. we use meaningful words don’t we. I’m a mega map and navigation geek but the difference is I appreciate that not everyone is, and smartphones and GPS for everyone has fundamentally changed the way navigation can be done.Posted 1 week ago
But it does work and it means that in many cases those of us in MR can get back to our beds quicker, that can only be a good thing.Posted 1 week ago
The one time (in over fifty years of getting out on the hill) that I had to call MRT, it was for a walker who’d sprained her ankle, they used SARLOC. they send you a text, you click on the link in it and it opens up your map application, pinpoints your location and sends it back to them automatically. No app to install, no potential mispronunciation of words.
Something I remember from school is that the national grid ref was originally intended as a post code but I’ve never seen anything to corroborate this.Posted 1 week ago
The one time (in over fifty years of getting out on the hill) that I had to call MRT
You do know you can use W3W for finding people and things outside of emergencies, right? That just involve a bit of fun, and that’s dead simple for everyone to understand?Posted 1 week ago
You keep saying that. There are reasons not to want to support wide adoption, as others have pointed out a long time ago in this thread. Do what you want for fun, it doesn’t negate their points, or mean that they should welcome wider adoption.Posted 1 week ago
Well fair enough, use it or don’t – it’s your choice.
It’s not your choice. Emergency services refused to attend a 10 fig grid ref unless someone walked off the hill to get a mobile signal to download W3W…
The bloke with the fractured spine was lying in running water for the 6 hours it took them to get to 5 miles from the hospital and 20m from a major A road.Posted 1 week ago
Have I missed something? Did that actually happen Steve? That’s insane.
Edit: Thinking again, I genuinely can’t believe it. Some links would be welcome.Posted 1 week ago
That sounds weird. last I head the scottish mountain rescue guys preferred a grid reference.Posted 1 week ago
Am I being thick or does SARLOC / PhoneFind depend on a data connection? Because anyone who spends time in the hills knows that data connections can be a lot harder to get than the capability to make an emergency voice call or text that’ll use any bearer and 1 bar of signal – either of which can be used (with risk/limitation) to convey a GR, Lat/Long or (three) words that the relevant apps (OS Locate, W3W, Viewranger, Google Maps) will provide irrespective of a data connection.Posted 1 week ago
Am I being thick or does SARLOC / PhoneFind depend on a data connection?
It needs to be a smartphone, with a connection to the internet and the location services switched on.Posted 1 week ago
Does What3words need all those things as well?Posted 1 week ago
Nope, it works without data or a phone signal. It’ll still show you your three word location when you open the app, probably won’t load the map though. Might not work under cover.Posted 1 week ago
How do you communicate your location to the emergency services? (Although you’ve been pretty clear you’re using it for other things). How do you know it’s got your location correct?Posted 1 week ago
Have I missed something? Did that actually happen Steve? That’s insane.
Edit: Thinking again, I genuinely can’t believe it. Some links would be welcome.
I don’t blame you… we were gobsmacked!
I’m not saying where as at the time there was a bit of fuss and those of us attending didn’t mention the location as it’s a bit irrelevant except the car park is 20m from a very major A road.
There were several ex forces paramedics (one of whom is married to an ex-A&E doctor from the same local hospital*) and a fully trained MTB coach and guide. He was the one who had to leave the location to download the app. I was the least qualified person there and spent my time ferrying warm clothing and such to and from the cars.
*ironically she retrained as a GP after breaking her back.
That sounds weird. last I head the scottish mountain rescue guys preferred a grid reference.
I’m sure any mountain/lowland or cave rescue would. This wasn’t in any mountains (barely a hill) so it was the ambulance service (who I’m also sure can read a map).
What I got TOLD by the guy is he was TOLD on the emergency call that the emergency operator can’t use a grid reference. I know him quite well so I tend to believe he didn’t go and download the app just for kicks!Posted 1 week ago
That’s nuts.Posted 1 week ago
Who do you communicate your location to the emergency services?
Do you mean “How?” presumably without a phone sig you can’t. Although you can connect to 999 on another carriers’ sig. But, yeah all phones are a potential point of failure, and true of all these systems, if you’ve fallen and landed on your phone, and it’s bust then SARLOC/location services. W3W all won’t work…If you’re on your own, it’s back to whistle blowing, or in a group it’s send one to find a phone/get a sig…just like the olden days…Posted 1 week ago
@stevextc that sounds crazy, was the bloke with the broken back OK eventually? what a nightmarePosted 1 week ago
that sounds crazy, was the bloke with the broken back OK eventually? what a nightmare
TBH never found out.Posted 1 week ago
3 of us had kids with us and by the time the ambulance arrived we were ready to just hand over.
I have no tolerance for an organisation that promotes a protectionist proprietary system under a banner of purported benevolence.Posted 1 week ago
dude, you’re on the internet…
No-one is forcing anyone to use any system..jeez, talk about manufactured outrage.Posted 1 week ago
Am I being thick or does SARLOC / PhoneFind depend on a data connection?
It needs to be a smartphone, with a connection to the internet and the location services switched on.
Not correct. Needs to be a smart phone, location services turned on and able to send a text message. Phonefind does not need a data connection as location information is sent via text messagePosted 6 days ago
If you’re on your own, it’s back to whistle blowing, or in a group it’s send one to find a phone/get a sig…just like the olden days…
Whistles are good but you should always have a mirror as well.Posted 6 days ago
Whistles are good but you should always have a mirror as well.
Don’t forget about flares as wellPosted 6 days ago
Don’t forget about flares as well
Don’t they get caught in the chain?Posted 6 days ago
hat I got TOLD by the guy is he was TOLD on the emergency call that the emergency operator can’t use a grid reference. I know him quite well so I tend to believe he didn’t go and download the app just for kicks!
Was told the same by a friend involved in a serious accident in the Forest of Dean recently. Boiled my piss that W3W clever sales pitch had convinced the emergency services to bin grid references.Posted 6 days ago
talk about manufactured outrage
I see no such thing. I see a genuine concern that a private propriety initiative might successfully replace the existing locating system we already have. Many a business has made its offering “essential” through ubiquity, and only then sought to use that position for control and profit, which before they took over, no one had. There is also the concern that a system that requires digital location systems (gps/cell triangulation or whatever) becomes the only option, without a “conventional” paper map fallback. Are these valid concerns? I don’t know. Can you use What3Words without using a single company’s API/apps? Can alternative providers supply companies, institutions and individuals the dataset and/or translate to other location systems for you? Or are you locked into the one company? Can that one company decide to block any other company, institution or individual from using the location system? What if it becomes a safety essential, but then they block a company making nav devices, or even printing maps, from using the system? Can they do that? If so, they can get in the sea.Posted 6 days ago
I had a slightly frustrating experience last year. Wasn’t a 999 call, but 101 because I had a puncture on a dual carriageway and was asked by the RAC operator to ask for police on scene to cone off to make safe for their guy to do his thing. I got the OS grid ref ready, and the what3words location because I’d heard that they take those. The operator said they couldn’t use either, and we had a surreal conversation where they kept saying stuff like “can you see any landmarks, a pub maybe?” and I was saying things like “on the map, find the town Wheatley, and see the A40 near it. There’s a bridge over the A40 – that’s xxxx Road, I’m on the A40 about 100 M East of that bridge.” “Are you near a Mcdonalds?”. I assume it’s different on the emergency line, but I was a bit surprised that they had no better way of receiving my location. Never mind though, all worked out in the end.
(I would have changed the wheel myself, but the verge was only wide enough for the car itself, and sloping, so definitely not a good idea to be jacking the car up there with no hard shoulder for a buffer! Police and RAC guy all ace, very efficient and nice.)Posted 6 days ago
I don’t think we have binned grid references yet. We get locations via GR, W3W, SARLOC, phone azimuths (sometimes, where appropriate) and good old fashioned names of ridges/gullies/routes. Then work with what we’ve got to figure out where people are.
@gray – conversely the issue you had is a total ball ache for us too. Control rooms always seem to want a postcode or building for their mapping software. Who ever knows the postcode when they’re not at home!!!Posted 6 days ago
Most mapping software will accept a grid reference… that sounds like a human systems problem that could be easily solved internally. Adding What3Words to mapping software requires … what exactly? Who has the control there?Posted 6 days ago
I know 🤷🏻♂️
Ten years ago when control rooms were all local you could tell them it was ‘just past xxx’s house’ and everyone would know where you meant.Posted 6 days ago
By the way, I love the What3Words concept… the combination of memorability and accuracy is totalling missing from other ways of sharing a location… most have one or the other… if it was gifted to the world the way the WWW was, I’d be rubbishing the cautiousness of some towards it. Some of the posts here have made me concerned though.Posted 6 days ago
If only hands.face.space was in Wuhan, China.Posted 6 days ago
No-one is forcing anyone to use any system..
But this is actually the problem..
We’re left funding an expensive social engineering product as part of emergency service provision because authorities didn’t adopt an open standard and allowed themselves to be manipulated into supporting a proprietary system.
Both Android and iOS automatically send location when making emergency calls, so I’m failing to see the value add of W3W here.
It should not have been left to their initiative anyway. Mobile phone services are licenced, could’ve put a emergency location service transmitted natively with emergency calls in the service requirements years ago.Posted 6 days ago
Control rooms always seem to want a postcode or building for their mapping software. Who ever knows the postcode when they’re not at home!!!
A few weeks ago, a friend out on a road ride crashed on a descent. She was with others, they phoned the ambulance and they simply would not accept W3W. The operator actually seemed very confused by these three random words being given to her and asked for a postcode – this on a country lane in the middle of nowhere.
Fortunately some local walking their dog came along and gave the postcode of his house and then a United Utilities driver passing the scene stopped to help and his sat nav had a nearby postcode so they gave that too.
Those issue was more that these adverts have convinced people that three words are all you need and you’ll have a helicopter overhead in minutes. In practice, the emergency services don’t all use it, their in-house software can’t convert W3W to a grid ref or postcode and the satnav in the ambulance can only accept a postcode. Maybe they’re just more used to operating in towns and villages where postcodes are ubiquitous and easy…?Posted 6 days ago
It’s primary use is as a rent extraction device for its owners, if they can gain sufficient market share.
It is utterly useless without their app, uses a non-universal language (English vs maths) and provides zero information about geography. The 3-word identification strings provide not the slightest clue whether two identified points are corners of the same building or literally on opposite sides of the planet (vs LatLong making it obvious that e.g., 52.36N 001.31W is relatively near 51.92N 001.48W), or OS Grid.
It gives zero value to anyone trying to actually navigate, without using their app, and if you are going to navigate with an app, why not use any implementation of OpenStreetMap, or even the nearly ubiquitous Google or Apple maps?
Some temporary convenience for innumerate people is not a good reason to implement a rent-extractive proprietary system.Posted 6 days ago
could’ve put a emergency location service transmitted natively [sic] with emergency calls in the service requirements years ago.
100% agree, but that’s not W3W’s fault. You can’t criticise them for having something that exists to favour something that doesn’t. There isn’t a standard, and the emergency services clearly aren’t working to the same systems anyway. I think the message for me from this discussion is make sure I don’t have to rely on any single one of these solutions.
The 3-word identification strings provide not the slightest clue whether two identified points are corners of the same building or literally on opposite sides of the planet
That’s deliberate, it’s not designed for navigation, it’s designed to point to a place. so in that respect it’s more like a post-code than a lat/long. If caller says he’s in the Black mountains and gives a W3W code and the call handler mishears a word and the system places him in say: Leicester square, then the call-handler knows to check to make sure.
It gives zero value to anyone trying to actually navigate,
It’s not a navigation system. There are loads of issues with W3W, and it’s shady business model, and I not a “champion” of it other than it’s a tool with some utility Use it or don’t.Posted 6 days ago
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