Viewing 24 posts - 81 through 104 (of 104 total)
  • What3words not suitable for safety critical applications
  • Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    Emergency services aren’t being forced into using it.

    Do you have any proof of that?

    Given you don’t give a toss the NHS were forced to use the propriety system for the vaccine SMS’s I can’t see why you’d care.

    It seems you are all for forcing the NHS/Emergency services into using stuff by removing the options or perhaps it’s just you can’t wait for the NHS to be sold off to US companies ???

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

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

    That’s what worries me about W3W, they are set up as a business with investors that will want a return on that soon. I cannot see any other way for those investments to be recouped other than charging for access to their service, either by charging for each request or for downloading the app. The danger point will be if/when the emergency services switch to relying on it as their main location tool, that will then give W3W the green light to monetise the system. If that point is reached then I hope there is legal protections to stop the Emergency Services essentially being held over a barrel when people in distress quote 3 words at the operator but they cannot access the system due to monetary issues. I know that is a worse-case scenario but it is possible. Hopefully some enterprising student/hobbyist will recognise that and come up with an open/free alternative that is either similarly unique or links into a few current systems to remove any possible errors.

    As always you have to look behind the product to get the whole picture.

    Premier Icon jonathan
    Free Member

    Another MR person here and we had an incident yesterday that demonstrates a lot of the quirks and potential pitfalls of W3W and how location information gets handled. Caller had phoned 999 for an ambulance and given a location description, I think the ambulance control call handler may have then generated a W3W (possibly based on postcode – which can cover big areas). The ambulance crew got sent W3W and description, and being familiar with the patch realised the W3W was guff and went straight to location. They also asked control to activate MR and that was triggered via SARCall, but with only the W3W location, which instantly looked wrong as you can’t fall from rocks in the middle of flat fields. Incident Controller then struggled to get through to control room to get the rest of location info (ie description), which we got just before I set off in the wrong direction in a vehicle. Also meanwhile the air ambulance (who probably self tasked) was hovering over the (wrong) W3W location until redirected by the ambulance crew on the ground.*

    As said – all in all it’s better to phone the police (who also love W3W btw) as they take the information and pass it straight on with no ‘translation’. Tends to work more smoothly when that happens and the right resources turn up when and where they are needed. W3W is already way too embedded to roll back at all – so we just need to have good ways of cross checking locations and try and make sure call handler training covers what it needs to.

    * I had a camera in my face for that one – so now everyone will be able to enjoy my scrabbling in my pockets to find a mask and take a handover from a paramedic after running up a hill 😉

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Emergency services aren’t being forced into using it.

    Fair enough, I was going off what seems to be a commonly occurring / oft-repeated comment on the topic.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    @stevextc, mate, get your head sorted, it’s full of nonsense.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Do you have any proof of that?

    Well, they’re not I’ve spent a good bit of time in the EOC the last year and was on standby to head down last night for a possible incident. They can use W3W, postcode, OS Grid reference and longitude latitude. They are not forced to use one system, they can choose from the options.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Full Member

    Hopefully some enterprising student/hobbyist will recognise that and come up with an open/free alternative that is either similarly unique

    there are open systems that are similarly unique

    indeed the patent report I read even references one as prior art from about 6-7 years prior

    and that ignores the other prior art and not non-obvious claims made such as dividing up the map/globe in to arbitrary sized boxes and assigning unique comibinations to those boxes.

    there’s even a free open one in goggle maps, that just simply has not been pushed whatsoever (although it tends to show for waypoints in google maps rather than dropping a pin, or in the “what’s here” option)

    but sadly the Scafell Pike flip-flop hikers that can’t get back in time for Corrie/Eastenders, won;t have the intelligence to dictate 6 words/numbers using the NATO alphabet, but can handle 3 words that often make funny sounding combinations.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    @stevextc, mate, get your head sorted, it’s full of nonsense.

    You stated that (after a year of preparation) there was only one system that GP’s and pharmacies were allowed to use as a SMS gateway… and you don’t seem to care how that occurred or who decided it or how suddenly after a year it was such a panic it had to be single sourced from the only company on the procurement list.

    It doesn’t even seem to have crossed your mind to ask who made that decision and what clinical expertise they had and why hundreds of better qualified companies were not put on the VIP list or for that matter why companies that make ventilators or PPE were excluded from bidding but a vacuum cleaner company not only got put on the VIP list but was calling the PM directly for some tax readjustments.

    Now you personally don’t have to care (or perhaps you have shares and do) but that doesn’t give you the right to criticise people who do care and infer they need their head sorting or any other euphemism you care to use.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Edited. I’m not responding to you anymore

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    andytherocketeer

    there are open systems that are similarly unique

    There are loads and have been for years… its not a new or unique concept.
    The only way this can possibly make money is by making it non optional – that is the only novel thing about it and the fact they refuse to publish the lists. (RM postcodes are proprietary but you can purchase the list and use it)

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    That’s what worries me about W3W, they are set up as a business with investors that will want a return on that soon. I cannot see any other way for those investments to be recouped other than charging for access to their service, either by charging for each request or for downloading the app.

    I doubt their business model is to make money from emergency service use. That’s just smart marketing – gets stories in the press (free advertising) and adoption rates up, credibility but surely their aim is for delivery services etc? Especially in parts of the world where postcodes are less helpful than the UK – but even here:

    This should give a postcode if your phone knows its location and has data:
    https://www.whatsmypostcode.com/

    That’s obviously created by someone who’s never been outside a city! Once you get rural postcodes cover huge areas. Here, even in a town with 10-15k people my house with postcode AND house number either brings you right to the door or dumps you 100 yards away with a flight of stairs and no signs to direct you to where I live depending on your sat-nav. If I have a heart attack I’m hoping that the Ambulance don’t use the same sat-nav/post code database as Uber!

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    The CG wouldn’t be able to winch the casualty without assistance in this case.

    I look forward to seeing this on the TV.

    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.

    But you don’t know how much time was wasted whilst the ambulance service called the police to ask for the MRT – maybe only a few minutes, but often its surprisingly long (same goes for calling coastguard when its on cliff/beach).

    CG was initiated by air ambulance. It arrived after the MRT.

    Maybe, and each situation is different, if the first 999 call had gone to police then they’d have initiated the CG getting them there sooner.

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

    That’s certainly how the TV show will present it – doesn’t make good TV to be a routine operation! However, I’d say if it was marginal for the CG helo, most air ambulances would already be grounded.

    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.

    I agree, I do a bit of stuff at sea and whenever I give a location try to give Lat/Long AND a distance/bearing from a landmark because if I jumble a digit or the person typing it in misses a minus sign it makes a big difference. (It also helps anyone else on VHF as “3 mies SW of XYZ” is a lot more meaningful to the person who might come to your aid than some a GPS location – I have overheard Belfast Coastguard ask a caller on VHF for a W3W location when they were struggling to understand a call on the radio).

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    Drac

    Well, they’re not I’ve spent a good bit of time in the EOC the last year and was on standby to head down last night for a possible incident. They can use W3W, postcode, OS Grid reference and longitude latitude. They are not forced to use one system, they can choose from the options.

    From the 1/2 of the conversation I listened to and the filling in by the Tom paramedic/guide it didn’t seem like the SWAS (if that is who he called) had any choice in using any other system.

    The only possibility would seem to be the operator refusing on their own bat because they got out of bed the wrong side but given the seriousness of the injury that seems far fetched… but what Tom said they told him is they didn’t have the facility to use anything else. (Equally they may have been untrained to use any other system… but the outcome is the same)

    Perhaps a half way and the operator was told to “strongly encourage”?

    Ultimately though does it matter? Tom was forced to walk to get a signal and download W3W before they would process the call any further.

    I’m not normally one to condone people calling the ambulance at the drop of a hat… its not like they have spare resources and somewhere someone is lying in a ditch with a fractured spine whilst the ambulance is treating someone with a minor scrape or broken arm etc. who could have made it to a minor injuries clinic by themselves or with friends but in this case a spine board and paramedics were absolutely required…

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    It’s entirely possible the call taker got stuck in the algorithm they follow, there is no reason to stick asking for a postcode as people tend to know much more than their home address. I can’t possible comment on the rationale beyond that without more information.  I will say though as someone who deals with investigations, perceptions of what happened by all parties are very different to what went on. There is also often a series of small events that lead to something not going well.

    The basic question to ask is if someone doesn’t know exactly where they are is where they started and where they were heading, last place they knew they past. MR can bounce a txt to mobiles which when responded to can provide a location.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    I doubt their business model is to make money from emergency service use.

    I doubt that as well as it’s bad publicity but once they have the market to squeeze who knows?

    That’s just smart marketing – gets stories in the press (free advertising) and adoption rates up, credibility but surely their aim is for delivery services etc? Especially in parts of the world where postcodes are less helpful than the UK – but even here:

    They don’t need stories in the press as such… Channel4ventures is a lead investor (swapping TV advertising for equity)

    Channel 4 Ventures offers high potential brands the opportunity to accelerate their growth through TV advertising, in exchange for an equity stake in the business.

    https://www.channel4ventures.com/

    My objection is forcing someone to download a closed proprietary system in return for medical assistance.
    Whichever way I look at that is is just wrong.

    They can target the voluntary/emergency services and if they say no they can publicise to the donors that they are refusing to use a free system… again just wrong.

    Their refusal to share the algorithm doesn’t bode well… especially given the tie in with the UK emergency and volunteer services because this is their only way to get people to download it.
    After this who knows…Tesco or Aldi may sign up (or not) but it is leveraging the emergency services to establish their base that I can’t feel is right.

    Premier Icon Greybeard
    Full Member

    I’m not a supporter of W3W but at least it’s replaced what I understood to be the previous ambulance service default of postcode.

    It doesn’t surprise me that one ambulance controller insisted on W3W, but that doesn’t mean it’s a policy. Every job has its incompetents and mavericks as well as people who just have a bad day and get things wrong.

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    That’s certainly how the TV show will present it – doesn’t make good TV to be a routine operation! However, I’d say if it was marginal for the CG helo, most air ambulances would already be grounded.

    The wind was fluctuating, the air ambulance got in at the top after thinking about it for a bit. They apparently tried to move closer and the wind changed their mind. The casualty was below some cliffs about 100m downslope and it was quite calm there. Issue for CG was wind above the escarpment for their hover. However they got the winchman in and the plan changed to winch much to the relief of the MRT who would have had two bad options to haul out.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Great article on the front page about W3W now:

    Is What3Words Really That Bad? Or Good? Let’s Ask Mountain Rescue.

    Premier Icon thepodge
    Free Member

    Great article from Keeper of the Peak predating STW by a year.

    https://kofthep.com/2020/08/14/i-am-lost/

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    pdw
    Free Member

    I disagree. The tool doesn’t give the lack of ambiguity in location that its sellers claim. It’s been demonstrated that there are many confusable pairs within a confusable distance of each other.

    OK but while that’s true, every single grid ref has countless confusable pairs within a confusable distance of each other.

    I think it’s fair to say that W3W’s “confusing mismatch” avoidance hasn’t delivered as well as it should, or as well as they promised, and yes that’s a big deal. But grid refs essentially have confusing mismatches designed in, and absolutely zero avoidance. So the question then is, is W3W’s flawed system automatically worse for its flaws than the common alternatives. Or if you prefer, is it a net gain despite failures.

    It’s a lot like self-driving cars, where you don’t have to have a perfect system, to possibly outperform the system that’s currently in use, but people will always fixate on the “new” risk.

    (I guess should probably say I’ve been a bit of an enthusiast for W3W, basically for 2 reasons- the way it’s gained acceptance in the general public which no other location finding app has managed, and the apparent cleverness of the algorithm. So I’m pretty pissed off that a chunk of that is now proven to be so flawed and with the apparent behaviour of the company. But it still feels a lot like it migt be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.)

    Premier Icon thepodge
    Free Member

    As per the KotP link above (if I’ve remembered it correctly)… Emergency services know their patch so if a grid reference is out then they can approximate it.

    53.7132290, -2.0960360 is STW HQ. If someone gave 63.713, -2.096 well that’s the Faroe Islands so clearly wrong and Calderdale emergency services wouldn’t be called for that so an educated guess is needed.

    Linguists.enlighten.chatting is also STW HQ but linguists.lighten.chatting is in Algeria. There’s no way to educated guess that.

    It’s very easy for misheard words especially if it’s poor weather, poor connection or strong accent.

    The other thing is I can send my location via signal, WhatsApp, Google and Strava without me having to know any words or numbers. If In doubt people tend to use sarloc (sp?) to find people, again without having to find and repeat words and numbers.

    Premier Icon scuttler
    Full Member

    Not read either the STW or KOTP articles but another year of MRT experience should say a lot for something that hasn’t been around very long. Commentators on here clearly saying the adoption is evolving.

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    Great article on the front page about W3W now:

    Did it answer the question it posed?

    Premier Icon jonathan
    Free Member

    No …and I wrote it!

    * although strictly speaking I didn’t exactly set out to answer that question… editors eh? 😉

Viewing 24 posts - 81 through 104 (of 104 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.