Author Topic: what 3 words  (Read 4791 times)

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2019, 04:30:37 pm »
I think it would make more sense (to me) if one of the three words was replaced by a 4-char country/county code.  That would give some indication of global location that is human-readable without really compromising the concept very much.

I don't have as much faith as some in the present UK postcode system - it probably seems a very decent locator in metropolitan areas but there are one or two remoter areas, even in England, where a single postcode covers several (linear) miles.  As a geographical locator, it's not good enough.  And I'm someone who thinks that people who don't use a house number, preferring "Bide-a-wee" or "Crow's Nest", deserve all the mis-directed Amazon parcels they never get.

But really a Gpoint (latitude and longitude in degrees and decimals), seems the best format to me.  You can use whatever degree of resolution seems best for purpose - 3 decimals for example is approximately similar to a postcode - 2 decimals gives an approximately 1km grid that could be painted as boundaries on road surfaces, etc, for people like me that drive around without satnav - 5 decimals will locate a house entrance.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2019, 04:57:06 pm »
I agree on postcodes. They are good for delivering post to permanent buildings, they are not geographical locators. I'm not sure about lat and long in degrees and decimals. To locate a house you'd need, according to what you say, 14 digits, and most human's brains aren't good at remembering such long strings. We're far better at remembering words, even without context. Though of course we first have to recognize them as words, meaning a system like What3Words needs to translated in thousands of languages to have truly global application. For some purposes, lat and long will be better.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2019, 05:06:49 pm »
  As a geographical locator, it's not good enough.  And I'm someone who thinks that people who don't use a house number, preferring "Bide-a-wee" or "Crow's Nest", deserve all the mis-directed Amazon parcels they never get.


House numbers in many places aren't really suitable
A mate's old house was along the lines of "The old thing", "New Farm", "That village", "Nearest big village", "Nearest Post Town"
The post code covered all of "That village" but the village was spread out along a main road and mostly just a collection of farms branched off of it, house numbering looses it's advantages when you've not got a linear line of houses along a road but sets of the splatted all over the place.

But then the post office (who produced the system for their purposes) would have sorted all of the mail for That Village into a bag and given it to the postie that drove the route that goes there every day.

The building my office is in is off the road it's addressed on, on a "private" road, the post office and other delivery companies have no problem working out where we are and even differentiating between the two buildings operated by the health service on it from the sports center, but it's quite amusing to watch food delivery riders/drivers fail to find us because far too much trust has been put into Postcodes by their "employers".

Part of the problem is the Post Office have decided we should have a different post code from the houses on the road, and therefore we have the same post code as the old sweet factory slightly further north. It's particularly bad with Deliveroo as it means we have to wait for the rider to cross a main road before we can contact them tell them they've gone wrong... oh and we're at the top of a climb that goes up over 100.

This is where what.three.words and/or the national grid come in handy because they designed as geographical locator's rather than mail sorters.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2019, 05:26:24 pm »
In the UK "Name, 10 CT2 7NT, UK"  Is enough for an address. All that other stuff we put on an envelope is redundant cruft. The postcode + house number is all you need. Unfortunately this isn't the case of all countries. In Belgium 1200 is the postcode of all of Antwerp. Germany and France's post code system is similarly stupid.

It's said that if you're the right sort of Englishman, your address will be three lines:
Quixote,
Geek House,
Bikeshire.

No need for a post code. But only for the right sort of Englishman.

Also works for the wrong sort of Englishman:  I once sent a postcard to "$person_name, Shite Bunker, Bristol".  Took a little longer than normal, but it got there just fine.


All that other stuff we put on an envelope is redundant cruft.

Nahh, it's the Victorian equivalent of a checksum; clues for the moderately intelligent postie, or the dead letter office.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2019, 05:36:45 pm »
I have two objections to what.3.words:

One) it is proprietary, private enterprise
Two) resolving information from an address is utterly reliant on a working app

The second is the more fundamental flaw. Given a postcode and local knowledge, you can get close to a location.

For values of "local knowledge" that are suspiciously similar to a GIS lookup.

Sure, locals come to memorise codes that are familiar to them.  I know where an NW1 postcode's going to be, in the same way that I know where an +44121471xxxx telephone number, or a 137.222.0.0/16 IPv4 address is going to be.  But that doesn't make any of those codes particularly suited to meaning things to locals.

Of course, the what3words approach deliberately throws adjacency away in the interests of error-checking.  That's a double-edged sword, and whether it's a good idea depends on whether you value accuracy at the mindless data entry stage over failing gracefully the wandering-around-looking-for-things-on-the-ground stage.  There's no right answer.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2019, 06:31:56 pm »
Also works for the wrong sort of Englishman:  I once sent a postcard to "$person_name, Shite Bunker, Bristol".  Took a little longer than normal, but it got there just fine.
:D :D :D
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2019, 06:39:52 pm »
The posts above, Fifeing Eejit and Kim, do show that a post code system designed for sorting and then delivery by people who are detailedly familiar with a limited area (our postman told me he's supposed to know the surnames of people on his round, for instance), has different needs than one for delivery or location with less or no sorting over a wider area by people who are not necessarily familiar with the area. A post code is pretty useless for finding a nomad's yurt in Mongolia but what3words or lat/long would both be pretty bad for urban posties. 
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: what 3 words
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2019, 02:18:36 pm »
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2019, 02:25:32 pm »
I hadn't considered the tectonics problem.  That's a pretty strong argument for not using hashed coordinates (in any form) as an address.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2019, 02:47:29 pm »
It's more a one-off location for an ambulance, deliveroo, drug deal, etc than an address.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2019, 03:37:02 pm »
But is it a useful one?

If I witness something and need to report it to the emergency services, how do I determine 3 words using the tools at my disposal: my eyes, perhaps a small amount of local knowledge, and a GPS?


Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2019, 04:19:17 pm »
If you have a GPS clearly you can use that. Hopefully the emergency services would understand whatever format your GPS gave. Deliveroo might be stretching it a bit.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #37 on: March 28, 2019, 04:21:08 pm »
For sharing your location for an ambulance or Deliveroo etc, why do you need to manually speak or send the coordinates? Why can't you do this all in an app?
The app can use the GPS in your phone to get the location, and send the coordinates automatically. The app will probably use latitude/longitude, but this doesn't matter, as it isn't visible to the user anyway.

Mountain rescue teams are already doing this - look up SARLOC. Basically they text a link to a webpage, then your phone browser will share the location. And it can automatically convert it to a grid reference, or display your location in the mountain rescue teams mapping software.
https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/skills/using_sarloc_for_rescue_on_your_smartphone-10917

Re: what 3 words
« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2019, 05:15:17 pm »
Indeed, from the link above:-

Quote
Here's the thing... If the person's phone has a data connection - the web page can just send the geolocation directly back to the emergency services! No need to get a human to read it out, then another human to listen and type it in to a different system.

There is literally no need for W3W in this scenario. If you have a data connection, you can send your precise location without an intermediary.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2019, 05:15:28 pm »
If you have a GPS clearly you can use that. Hopefully the emergency services would understand whatever format your GPS gave.

I refer you to my footnote above, where I was happy to read them precise coordinates in any of the formats my Garmin could generate, but no luck:

I had a fraught conversation with a 999 operator from the scene of a bike-vs-bike accident requiring an ambulance on a rural road.  They couldn't cope with "On $B-road, about half a k east of the junction with $A-road", or map coordinates in either OS grid or WGS84.  No, what they really wanted was a postcode.  What I ended up doing was walking down the road and discovering the name of the nearby farm.

The law of sod suggests that the emergency services will at some point be sold a what3words resolving tool, and want GPS locations in that.  Which is as bad as requiring an app.  They should really be able to cope with coordinates provided in standard formats (yes, I know there are so many to choose from, but Ordnance Survey and WGS84 punctuated in the common forms covers most users) using nothing more advanced than a Nokia 3310 and a map.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2019, 09:26:01 pm »
Why can't you do this all in an app?

That sums up the issue pretty well for me!

That's just all wrong for me.
It has a view of the world where everyone has a smartphone, and a data connection wherever they are.
And a buy-in to a proprietary system.

No thanks.

Re: what 3 words
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2019, 09:36:23 pm »
My wife's car engine died a fortnight ago. Call with RAC and they want a postcode.  Who the hell knows the postcode of where they are unless they are at home?  Even if you have a sat nav do they allow you to bring up the postcode of where you currently are?   They could not cope with near Tesco xxx, just up road Byyy second exit of the roundabout towards town zzz.  Despite the fact typing that into osm or google maps would bring it up in seconds their end.  Which idiot sold them a system they depends on the person needing help knowing a postcode or have a data connected smart phone on them?

Re: what 3 words
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2019, 09:48:22 pm »
My wife's car engine died a fortnight ago. Call with RAC and they want a postcode.  Who the hell knows the postcode of where they are unless they are at home?  Even if you have a sat nav do they allow you to bring up the postcode of where you currently are?   They could not cope with near Tesco xxx, just up road Byyy second exit of the roundabout towards town zzz.  Despite the fact typing that into osm or google maps would bring it up in seconds their end.  Which idiot sold them a system they depends on the person needing help knowing a postcode or have a data connected smart phone on them?
.

Some 25 years ago I broke down. I knew the road I was on, and could see a road name on a side road opposite. The AA system couldn’t find me. Thankfully the local patrolman could.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2019, 09:53:00 pm »
My wife's car engine died a fortnight ago. Call with RAC and they want a postcode.  Who the hell knows the postcode of where they are unless they are at home?  Even if you have a sat nav do they allow you to bring up the postcode of where you currently are?   They could not cope with near Tesco xxx, just up road Byyy second exit of the roundabout towards town zzz.  Despite the fact typing that into osm or google maps would bring it up in seconds their end.  Which idiot sold them a system they depends on the person needing help knowing a postcode or have a data connected smart phone on them?

You'd think they'd encounter this problem frequently enough that they'd do something about it.  Probably more so than the emergency services operators do, as you pretty much always phone the RAC when away from home, and often from the roadside with no obvious address.

Now I think about it, I recall the last time I called 999, to report a crime in progress in one of the pedestrian areas near the Bullring centre.  They understood "Bullring Centre" and didn't get too hung up on postcodes.  I suspect they passed my description of "the walkway from the main plaza towards Moor Street station, next to $shop" on verbatim to the security bods with Local Knowledge™.  I can imagine that conversation would have been complicated if I'd been somewhere more nondescript.


Anyway, it seems to be that the main problem isn't that people find coordinates awkward to deal with (and tbh I don't think they're really any worse[1] than telephone numbers), it's that they aren't equipped to make use of them in the first place.  On that basis, what3words isn't a solution, it's just an additional layer of the problem.



[1] Apart from lat/long having a semantically important sign bit that's commonly expressed in two different ways.  "Is that -0.5634 degrees east or -0.5634 degrees west?" "I don't know, it just says -0.5634 degrees"
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2019, 10:24:46 pm »
Every time I have called a road side assistance, I have given the road name or the nearest road name plus a description of where, like : X metres from Y and I can see Z if you come from the south. Sometimes I have been lucky to be next to a shop/company/etc others I have been rather in the middle of nowhere.

And surprisingly shortly thereafter a nice person with tools in the back of a van have rocked up next to me and mended the vehicle I'm in.

I'm sure the person who covers the area I broke down in, have a very good knowledge of said area.

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2019, 10:53:25 pm »
If in a perfect world with great signal for data and GPS that you could send easy to the emergency services, that would be great.

I like w3w because I know many that would struggle with just reading Lon/Lat digits or the OS map grid even if it was written down.

Where words they could get across easy to someone even if they were in pain because a broken leg for example. Yes a stroke is a different matter.

I have been at both ends of giving directions, from person at the location which is talking someone in or the person who is getting the direction to get to said location.

Classic (many a joke too) you go past the old church that burned down and is now the fire station across from where Bob used to live etc. I don't need to know that there once where a church, all I need to know is where in turn left.

As a person who take note of, if I'm coming from the south, when the last hill was or right turn was. It is a bit easier to give directions to others. But many a people don't pay attention so they cant tell - go left at the red barn, 2 miles later you see some trees to the right etc

Heck my big brother can get lost in a phone box with a map in his hands. Getting direction from him is a nightmare.

Re: what 3 words
« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2019, 08:38:47 am »
This reminded me of a proposal i once saw to use IP6 multicast as a scalable granularity 3D addressing system. (Late 90s mobicom i expect.) Indeed, assuming a working device and data connection makes machine to machine sensible for coordinates, as noted above.

Though GPS on my phone is broken at the moment (crappy antenna connections) and I've spent half of the last 10 minutes without a data connection. Personally i think relative location, reliability and openness are too useful in too many cases to ignore.

Sent from my LG-H850 using Tapatalk


Re: what 3 words
« Reply #47 on: March 29, 2019, 10:10:46 am »
If you have a GPS clearly you can use that. Hopefully the emergency services would understand whatever format your GPS gave.

I refer you to my footnote above, where I was happy to read them precise coordinates in any of the formats my Garmin could generate, but no luck:

I had a fraught conversation with a 999 operator from the scene of a bike-vs-bike accident requiring an ambulance on a rural road.  They couldn't cope with "On $B-road, about half a k east of the junction with $A-road", or map coordinates in either OS grid or WGS84.  No, what they really wanted was a postcode.  What I ended up doing was walking down the road and discovering the name of the nearby farm.

The law of sod suggests that the emergency services will at some point be sold a what3words resolving tool, and want GPS locations in that.  Which is as bad as requiring an app.  They should really be able to cope with coordinates provided in standard formats (yes, I know there are so many to choose from, but Ordnance Survey and WGS84 punctuated in the common forms covers most users) using nothing more advanced than a Nokia 3310 and a map.

Like most things, it depends on the person you end up speaking to.

If they don't know how to interpret OS or WGS84 references then IMHO that shows a massive gap in their training. Even without an hours worth of training of "if it sounds like this, plug it in here and look at the map" it really shouldn't be hard to come up with a simple internal tool that can help interpret whatever is being thrown at them.

No need to end up paying w3w any money (which is what all this PR fluff is building up to) which unnecessarily shifts the burden on to the caller.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: what 3 words
« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2019, 12:43:28 pm »
If in a perfect world with great signal for data and GPS that you could send easy to the emergency services, that would be great.

If you call the emergency services from a GPS-enabled mobile phone, their system can send your location direct to the ambulance. I discovered this a couple of years ago when a fellow rider calling for assistance for an injured rider in the middle of nowhere on an audax asked if they wanted him to send them the GPS location and they said no need.

It took a while for the ambulance to turn up but that's not because they couldn't find us.

Re: what 3 words
« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2019, 01:29:02 pm »
If in a perfect world with great signal for data and GPS that you could send easy to the emergency services, that would be great.

If you call the emergency services from a GPS-enabled mobile phone, their system can send your location direct to the ambulance. I discovered this a couple of years ago when a fellow rider calling for assistance for an injured rider in the middle of nowhere on an audax asked if they wanted him to send them the GPS location and they said no need.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Mobile_Location

Before that the network used to use trilateration based on the relative signal strengths of the nearby cell antennas. Which is why it rarely gave a good fix when out in the sticks as you were rarely in range of more than one antenna.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."