Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 178 total)
  • What3words not suitable for safety critical applications
  • Kelliesheros
    Free Member

    Wikipedia

    The fact it is proprietary and not seemingly profitable are the two biggest red flags.

    oldnpastit
    Full Member

    There’s a workaround for W3W. It’s very unlikely you will find 2 sets of confusable pairs adjacent to each other, so if you give the W3W combo in 2 spots next to each other (i.e that are 3m apart), you should be pretty confident in the location. Not going to work if you’re unable to move, but oftentimes that’s not the case.

    So, perhaps rename it to W6W ?

    You would think they could have included a parity check-digit in the numbering scheme, in the same way that credit card numbers do, to make this unnecessary.

    dudeofdoom
    Full Member

    Probably last thing on their minds once they secured the £50 mil 🙂

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Exactly – profit not a public service is the motivation here.

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    After they way they have aggressively targeted whatfreewords who reverse engineered their system to research weakness they can **** off as a company. Marketing ****

    Not a what3wordsfan but struggling to get het up over this.

    It’s call it what you want if it makes you feel better but. It’s copying someone else’s IP and then opensourcing it. That’s not security purposes -thata just a handy attempt at defence of the situation.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    Yes, OS locate is just as good / better but they don’t have the marketing budget so people don’t put it on their phone.

    That is why they also use the PhoneFind tool quite a bit as it prompts user to give permission before location is sent.

    The problem I have is hijacking mountain rescue, RNLI and ambulance services to do their marketing.

    Lets face it assigning 3 words to every 3mx3m grid on say the UK grid isn’t rocket science… and with a list of reserved words for pronunciation etc. is pretty trivial and did we not have 10 individual NHS Ambulance Trusts easily achievable. Any undergrad could do it as a final year project… then add in the air ambulance, mountain rescue, lowland rescue, RNLI etc. all for free allowing a reversible emergency services version without the restrictions.

    Chuck in a linguistics grad and add 2 factor auth for location (2nd set of words) and you’d have a fully functional system.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    I read the title (and then the thread) but got me thinking what3words really wouldn’t be suitable in these situations.

    rope.slightly.frayed

    one.last.run

    bit.more.speed

    walking.flip.flops

    helmets.are.dangerous (that’s a 3m square somewhere in gentrified Edinburgh, I think)

    samhay
    Full Member

    Yes, it’s a rather sub-par solution. Doesn’t sound like their business model would survive any major re-jigging of the way it works either. However, if I found myself in a spot of bother and the call handler insisted on using W3W exclusively, I would be suggesting (if compos mentis) we get a few 3-word combos to prevent any confusion.

    dudeofdoom
    Full Member

    take.money.run

    The problem I have is hijacking mountain rescue, RNLI and ambulance services to do their marketing.

    Yep…

    stevextc
    Free Member

    franksinatra

    Steve, just out of curiosity, do you know if they phoned police or ambulance? It shouldn’t matter but, unfortunately it does sometimes make a difference.

    The situation you describe is not the fault of W3W, it is entirely the fault of the control room training or process.

    Dunno TBH but I can ask Tom next time I see him. He does this reasonably often with ambulances and air ambulance so he knows the drill so to speak but he was dumbfounded by this.

    The situation you describe is not the fault of W3W, it is entirely the fault of the control room training or process.

    I’m not sure.. the licensing prohibits reserve engineering and in the deep 6pt grey text that is (or was – didn’t check if its changed) defined as displaying a W3W location next to a resolvable geolocation.

    Equally I don’t know what the deal was with SWASFT for the pilot .. were they allowed to cross reference or is this explicitly banned and what are the contrac tual obligations and potential fines if they do?

    In a sensible world this would have been done with the people at the pointy end in on the loop but sadly in todays “post-fact” UK I have little confidence. It seems like a small thing..like who paid for Boris’ wallpaper (for example) but the concerning thing is how these things are just accepted…

    My mate volunteers on DORSaR so that overlaps SWASFT and he’s not happy either though as you said earlier he seems to spend more time searching for people who’d rather not be found.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    Lets face it assigning 3 words to every 3mx3m grid on say the UK grid isn’t rocket science… and with a list of reserved words for pronunciation etc. is pretty trivial and did we not have 10 individual NHS Ambulance Trusts easily achievable. Any undergrad could do it as a final year project… then add in the air ambulance, mountain rescue, lowland rescue, RNLI etc. all for free allowing a reversible emergency services version without the restrictions.

    Chuck in a linguistics grad and add 2 factor auth for location (2nd set of words) and you’d have a fully functional system.

    Yep, all you are missing then is the multi million pound marketing budget to get vast numbers of users to install it on their phones

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    Why is lat/long particularly bad for mountain rescue?
    Only asking as my watch can (with two button presses) display and save this.
    Never had to call MR, but I had naively assumed that if on my own and injured I could use the watch like this, and the phone as a phone.
    (Also chance of phone screen damage etc)

    nickc
    Full Member

    Yes, it’s a rather sub-par solution

    No single system is fault free. Most people don’t know what a Lat/Long is and TBH it appears that MRT and rescue services don’t trust people to give accurate ones in an emergency anyway, even Find-phone needs permission and a working phone, street names and road numbers are confusable and similarly numbered in geographical areas. As @franksinatra pointed out, it’s just one part of group of systems that’s used.

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    It’s call it what you want if it makes you feel better but. It’s copying someone else’s IP and then opensourcing it. That’s not security purposes -thata just a handy attempt at defence of the situation.

    Its not copying someone IP any more than every cad software or spreadsheet or is a copy of IP of whoever did the first ever Cad, spreadsheet etc. It was independently redeveloped. We don’t have software patents because trying to patent a algorithm is trying to patent maths.

    They have had someone show the weakness in their software and used aggressive legal methods to try and hide it because it spoils their marketing front.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    Why is lat/long particularly bad for mountain rescue?

    I don’t have a platform to easily convert it to a usable plot on the map, in particular to overlay to OS and get a GR. I am sure such a platform does exist but it is not in routine use. Lat/Long is also precious about space, hyphens, colons etc so lots of opportunity for error from caller, police call handler or from me.

    When I enter OS GR or W3W in our system it automatically drops a pin on the OS map. Doing so with Lat/Long will take time and I’d prefer to use that time coordinating the response.

    midlifecrashes
    Full Member

    drink.verification.can

    poly
    Free Member

    As an aside, there are some interesting trials of technology which picks up a phone which has no signal but is sending out data as it tries to find a signal. If we can get that small enough to stick on a drone it will be amazing in poor signal areas.

    I’ve wondered whether you could get a nano-cell on a drone to give you temporary cover which would enable you to not only find them but communicate with them…

    cubist
    Free Member

    There’s a workaround for W3W. It’s very unlikely you will find 2 sets of confusable pairs adjacent to each other, so if you give the W3W combo in 2 spots next to each other (i.e that are 3m apart), you should be pretty confident in the location. Not going to work if you’re unable to move, but oftentimes that’s not the case.

    You can do it without moving on the app. MIght not be too easy if your alone, freezing and in pain but its possible and still easier than some alternatives in that scenario.

    hooli
    Full Member

    Sounds a bit harsh to pick on a handful of examples where it has failed when it has been used been used countless times without issue.

    I’ve used it to rescue my son and his mates after a mechanical on more than one occasion. It is a pretty good alternative to “you know that path we went down that day”, “the one by the farmers field”, “the one with the trees at the end” etc.

    poly
    Free Member

    Its not copying someone IP any more than every cad software or spreadsheet or is a copy of IP of whoever did the first ever Cad, spreadsheet etc. It was independently redeveloped. We don’t have software patents because trying to patent a algorithm is trying to patent maths.

    Some jurisdictions (the US in particular) do directly allow software patents. Even in the UK there are mechanisms by which software can be patented. Whether this algorithm is patentable will depend on how novel and inventive it is – the same would have been true for the first-ever s/sheet or cad package, or one that does something special; generally now those types of software recognise that the need for interoperability is greater than the need to exclude competition.

    However, even if it is not patentable – if someone has used the W3W API to help reverse engineer the words/algorithm it uses then its a breach of their T&Cs and they shouldn’t be surprised if commercial companies decide to enforce their T&Cs. Someone could make an “other3words” app that uses the same concept but results in different words and the question then is patentability (unless they’ve literally copied the code) but if they make “same3words” and its used the W3W app or Api to generate those same 3 words they are on tricky ground.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    I’ve wondered whether you could get a nano-cell on a drone to give you temporary cover which would enable you to not only find them but communicate with them…

    The drone stuff is all quite new and really really interesting. Predictably it is all about weight v battery trade off. You can attach anything you want but if it is heavy you reduce the flying time dramatically. I like your idea but suspect the phone companies will make it very hard to implement. Knowing where someone is it the main thing and the newest drone has a speaker on it so we can have one way comms, I expect it will be used mainly to tell people to not move, just sit down and wait for us!

    stevextc
    Free Member

    Why is lat/long particularly bad for mountain rescue?

    Other than people transposing digits …
    There is no such thing as a unique lat/lon because the earth is not a perfect sphere.
    Depending where you are you can be hundreds of metres to kilometers out depending what datum is used.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    The drone stuff is all quite new and really really interesting. Predictably it is all about weight v battery trade off.

    Issue free lures to hikers then use a trained raptor… 😉

    poly
    Free Member

    The recent incident I was was involved with I believe the caller asked for ambulance, we/I gave the call handler Grid and what three words (they requested WTW) and they got the air ambulance on the way. They alerted Mountain Rescue rocked up later and coastguard winched the casualty.


    @big_n_daft
    – I think you’ve illustrated frank’s point nicely there. You will get help (barring any stevexc type oddities) either way – but the temptation to think – someone is hurt call the Ambulance might not be the fastest way to get the best help. The ambulance service call handler’s temptation is to deploy ambulance service resources and do their best to help. They’ll call “their” air ambulance, rather than contacting kinloss to get CG helo which can winch a casualty so doesn’t need to land. Round here, they’ll deploy their SORT (I think similar to HART in England?) who will mobilise their team from quite far away with no local knowledge, and bring an all-terrain-vehicle, or send the nearest standard ambulance where two people then walk in with as much kit as they can carry before calling for backup (assuming, of course, they can find you).

    I think most of us get that Police (MRT) is who you call when very remote and “in the mountains”. Trail centre – a mile from the nearest road? Local woods in an area quite far from the mountains? And then as someone who occasionally organises events in remote spots I think it is worth asking yourself who would we call here (casualty back at car park = ambulance; casualty out on the hill path – might depend on injuries and how accessible).

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    Poly, that is spot on. Often the ambulance service will only call MRT when they have exhausted their own options. Going via the Police / MRT route you will get MRT mobilised quicker. This situation is improving and ambulance are getting better at calling us sooner but they are very keen to use SORT as much as possible, even if this isn’t the best or closet resource for the job.

    poly
    Free Member

    Advanced Mobile Location is great but it will tell you where the caller is, not where the casualty is. Often they will be the same – but there are times when the caller has had to walk/ride a considerable way to get signal – or perhaps in a panic has called a third party first (at ~13/14 my son called his mother rather than the ambulance when his friend knocked himself out in a crash).

    uniqueusername
    Full Member

    Why is lat/long particularly bad for mountain rescue?

    Echoing what Steve said.
    There is no one lat/long, you would need to also communicate what datum is being used. Wikipedia
    It’s most likely you are using WGS 84, but do you know that and does the person at the other end of the phone.
    And I’m plucking this as vague memory from when I got my Garmin and was messing around with gpsbabel and Google maps and I think set the datum as a pref on the Garmin because that seemed to be the most common or what Google maps used. But I had to Google to get the datum name now.

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    They’ll call “their” air ambulance, rather than contacting kinloss to get CG helo which can winch a casualty so doesn’t need to land.

    The CG wouldn’t be able to winch the casualty without assistance in this case. Air ambulance was there in 30mins +10 getting to the point where the casualty was, MRT was another 30 mins before their first people got to the casualty. CG was initiated by air ambulance. It arrived after the MRT.

    All the helo support was on the edge for flying conditions.

    In this case it all worked to get the casualty off the hill.

    You’ll need to watch the telly to get the rest

    My view is that relying on one system to get a location is a fundamental error. Not mobilising because you need the location from a proprietary system and no other source is verging on negligence.

    Drac
    Full Member

    Well, I’m shocked to hear it’s absolutely not flawless.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    You will get help (barring any stevexc type oddities) either way

    As they ingrain the system into emergency services and remove the choices then these oddities will start becoming the norm.

    The situation you describe is not the fault of W3W, it is entirely the fault of the control room training or process.

    So what did the control room person/process do BEFORE?
    Indeed why do we need a control room person (even a minimally trained one) if we have w3w???

    Much as I know why (you have explained) I doubt the person signing the contract is going to actually consult you…

    I don’t have a platform to easily convert it to a usable plot on the map, in particular to overlay to OS and get a GR. I am sure such a platform does exist but it is not in routine use.

    Literally hundreds … here is a 1mx1m square (Gisburn Forest car park) this uses WGS84 datum that is the same used by your phone.

    https://gridreferencefinder.com/os.php#gr=SD7447255815|Point_s_A|1
    Grid Reference
    SD 74472 55815
    Grid Reference (6 figure)
    SD744558
    X (Easting) , Y (Northing)
    374472 , 455815
    Latitude , Longitude (decimal)
    53.997732 , -2.3908960
    Latitude , Longitude (degs, mins, secs)
    53°59′52″N , 002°23′27″W
    What3Words : bitters.dumplings.courier
    Address (near) :
    The Hub, The 8, Easington, Ribble Valley, Lancashire, North West England, England, BB7 4TS, United Kingdom
    Postcode (nearest) : BB7 4TS

    nickc
    Full Member

    …And we’re off…

    As they ingrain the system into emergency services and remove the choices

    Any evidence of emergency services being forced to use W3W only? Apart from in your head?

    ebygomm
    Free Member

    I don’t have a platform to easily convert it to a usable plot on the map, in particular to overlay to OS and get a GR. I am sure such a platform does exist but it is not in routine use.

    You can put lat longs straight into google, both decimal and degrees. Don’t even need to be in Google maps

    stevextc
    Free Member

    nickc

    Any evidence of emergency services being forced to use W3W only? Apart from in your head?

    Either forced or refusing … however given the business model for W3W and stated aims to investors then forced seems to be the most likely.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Why is lat/long particularly bad for mountain rescue?
    Only asking as my watch can (with two button presses) display and save this.
    Never had to call MR, but I had naively assumed that if on my own and injured I could use the watch like this, and the phone as a phone.
    (Also chance of phone screen damage etc)

    Most navigation and/or “describing where you are” scenarios require some form of knowledge from the person making the call. W3W was (or at least was marketed as) a way of avoiding that as in “any idiot can use it”.

    Lat/Long, you need to know the datum system, there’s a very high chance of transposing digits, most people have no idea how to access that info on their phone anyway.
    OS grid reference coordinates are good if delivered by a GPS (with the OS basemap fitted!), less reliable if read out while holding an A3 map that’s flapping around in the breeze (and if the latter, you actually have to have fairly decent map reading skills).
    Postcode is fine in urban areas (although if you have an accident on the side of a road you’re unlikely to know the postcode without asking), rural areas can be very hit and miss where a postcode can refer to a much larger area.

    A friend had to call an ambulance on a road ride a while ago when one of her riding mates crashed on a descent. She tried to give them a W3W but the operator seemed clueless about it and kept asking for a postcode as it was the only thing the ambulance satnav could understand. On a random road in the Trough of Bowland with no buildings around, she couldn’t give a postcode.

    With W3W, assuming the person making the call can move by 3+ metres, surely you could just give 2 or 3 references next to each other?

    That said, I’m not a fan of W3W either because of their marketing and I can see a point where, having forced MR and emergency services into using it, they suddenly start to charge for it.

    Drac
    Full Member

    however given the business model for W3W and stated aims to investors then forced seems to be the most likely.

    They’re not being forced.

    andytherocketeer
    Full Member

    Hopefully that post above containing a crossreference from a 3 word location to an explicit location in another reference won’t cause any legal threats.

    It is against their T+C and a breach of their IP.

    nickc
    Full Member

    and I can see a point where, having forced MR and emergency services into using it, they suddenly start to charge for it.

    Emergency services aren’t being forced into using it.

    nickjb
    Free Member

    A friend had to call an ambulance on a road ride a while ago when one of her riding mates crashed on a descent. She tried to give them a W3W but the operator seemed clueless about it and kept asking for a postcode as it was the only thing the ambulance satnav could understand. On a random road in the Trough of Bowland with no buildings around, she couldn’t give a postcode.

    This should give a postcode if your phone knows its location and has data:

    https://www.whatsmypostcode.com/

    Stainypants
    Full Member

    I was in a serious accident last week involving a head injury. I had no clue where I was (even though I commuted down the road 1000s of times) and there was no way I could have given a grid reference. If I had had w3w I could have just about done that thankfully i was with someone who guided the emergency services to me.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    OS grid reference coordinates are good if delivered by a GPS (with the OS basemap fitted!), less reliable if read out while holding an A3 map that’s flapping around in the breeze (and if the latter, you actually have to have fairly decent map reading skills).

    Or just read them off the phone app. No map needed.

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 178 total)

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