London-Based Mapping Tech Startup What3words Opens Atlanta Office

The app allows users to find specific locations via unique three-word addresses.

Written by Ashley Bowden
Published on Nov. 10, 2021
London-Based Mapping Tech Startup What3words Opens Atlanta Office
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CEO and co-founder of what3words Chris Sheldrick. | Photo: Billy Barraclough

Navigation can be tough, and not just for the directionally challenged. Without specific indicators as to where to go or what to expect upon arrival, the world can appear vast and intimidating. Fortunately, a London-based company has divided the globe into a grid of 57 trillion 10-foot squares, each with its own unique address. In the spirit of making locations more accessible, what3words is expanding its footprint with a new Atlanta office.

The company developed a location tech solution that helps users find, share and save precise locations. It assigned random three-word combinations to every individual square on its map of the world. These addresses and word combinations are unique and never change. For instance, the front door of the King Center in Atlanta can be found on the what3words app at ///nuzzled.tractor.camps. 

In addition to being a useful tool for misdirected Uber drivers, the what3words app has several other applications. The platform, which launched in the U.S. in 2016, has evolved into a tool that individuals and organizations in more than 170 countries use to share location-based info. Using a what3words address, workers can easily locate assets or worksites and pinpoint exact delivery locations.

Businesses can use the what3words platform to improve efficiencies, enhance their customer experience and provide smoother journeys. Organizations across the logistics, automotive, ride-hailing and travel industries currently use the platform, according to what3words’ website. The app is also functional offline and available in multiple languages.

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Photo: what3words

What3words can also save lives. Emergency communications centers (ECCs) across the U.S. have used the what3words app to conduct rescues. The software is currently accessible to over 4,800 ECCs thanks to platform integrations with RapidSOS and other organizations. The app gives 9-1-1 callers a simple and precise way to describe where an emergency has arisen, enabling call centers to dispatch responders directly to the indicated site. 

“When in need of urgent help, the last thing you want to be worrying about is describing your location or attempting to figure out where you are,” Chris Sheldrick, co-founder and CEO of what3words, said in an August 26 statement. “We conducted a survey last month and discovered that 42 percent of emergency call operators shared that they receive daily calls where individuals struggle to describe the location of their emergency. Having the technology to find your precise location in the palm of your hand can be beneficial for friends looking for one another at a populated or remote location, as well as for the potential of one day needing to get the help you need when you need it most.” 

The company is growing rapidly, having seen a 250 percent increase in U.S. users this year alone. What3words also recently partnered with Lamborghini and Amazon Alexa to help drivers navigate to specific places using car voice recognition system capabilities. As what3words continues to grow, the company anticipates building out its business in Atlanta’s burgeoning tech space. 

Having chosen the city due to its airport accessibility, U.K.-compatible time zone and proximity to U.S. business and government hubs, what3words plans to expand its team. Already based in Atlanta is Ashley Cashion, the company’s U.S. partnerships director. The company currently lists several positions on its site spanning its global business development and technology teams.

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