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Yeah, that's what3words (https://what3words.com/), which (IMO) makes for easier to remember words. It's available in multiple languages too, for the non-english speaking world.



And it is (falsely[0]) patented, proprietary and generally deemed a bad thing by programmers and geofolk all around. Some previous criticisms:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8614198

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17423251

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15579017

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15580809


I do work in rural Kenya, and the big problem what 3 words has is that the words are totally randomly allocated around the world. A REALLY important attribute of addresses is that they can be vague.

"He's on High and 23rd", "I live on Monroe", "Near Jomo Kenyatta Airport", etc.

The biggest mistake what 3 words made was not making the first two words be a geocoding of the approximate area and the last word could provide additional precision. It looks like google plus codes fixed this which is actually a huge improvement.


could you explain this a bit more ? not able to understand the implication of this design flaw


Knowing your neighbors address tells you nothing about your own address. To be able to get your address, you need a smart phone, and at that point you could just send me a pin with your exact latitude and longitude.

Approximate locations are dramatically more useful for navigating in much of the rural developing world. "How do I get to village X" will have an answer for 10 miles around. "How do I get to X lat/lng?" will be met with a shrug, both from google maps which will suggest you drive through a field and from anyone you ask.

If you can make something that works at the village level, you can bootstrap people getting their location. If the first word provided approximately "country" level information, the second provided approximately 1km bands (what you get if you evenly divide the three little words partitions), and the third gave you the 3m resolution grid, people without addresses could know their approximate address from others.

Basically, there's a bootstrapping problem and a usefulness problem. Right now, no one knows their 3 little words number. To become useful, most people need to know their 3 little words. How do you cross that gap? One way would be to have it be useful to know "2 words" or some approximate identifier for your region and then after locating you approximately, your service provider can tell you your last word.


This is a general problem with solutions in the space. Part of the niceness of say geohashes is that they telescope down.

The startup I'm involved with has developed what we call a geohash phrase. The core idea is to map English (or whatever language) words to the characters of a geohash. We usually map a word two-characters at a time, giving us 10-bits of precision for each additional word. So your location might be something like: "The big dog walks near the red house."

What is nice is that the phrase telescopes. So you can be vague when you want and only provide say the first three words of your location.


This is what I understood: Imagine your address is "massive heart will" but your next door neighbor's address is "correct position delay".


It's beautiful except that (1) it could vanish instantly and irreparably if they went bust, because it's not a public database and (2) I'd rather not have a single corporate entity be a gatekeeper of my ability to locate things.


It's somewhere in their FAQ but they pleaged that the dataset becomes open/free if the company goes bust.


That may not be in their power to grant if it counts as a valuable asset.


Unfortunately (or fortunately, since it's rather controversial), they made it proprietary, which means it's basically dead regardless of merit.

Also, I believe that they require large dictionaries, which makes it hard for apps to support it on low-end mobile. Wikipedia says ~10 MB for their database.


Their own site says 20mb


It appears not to be "open" and can in some circumstances cost money, though.




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