What3words is a platform that has divided the world into three metre square segments, and then given each square a unique combination of three words.
In using what3words someone can give their exact location easily, by going to the what3word website or app, activating it, and then sharing the three words that pop up.
Since late last year SAPOL has had access to what3words to assist in locating Triple Zero callers.
It’s already proven useful to several rescues including one in May when a bike rider on a remote trail in the Cleland Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills began to feel unwell and required medical assistance. They thought their location was about 3km from the carpark of the Penanga Spur Track.
However, after activating what3words during the Triple Zero call they pinpointed their location to just 1km along the track. This allowed rescue teams to quickly assess and change their response, diverting resources to a different area. Emergency services were able to locate and begin treating the patient within 45 minutes of the initial call.
Although SAPOL also has access to the Advanced Mobile Location tool to identify areas where Triple Zero callers are phoning from, this additional tool can help both callers and emergency services locate a person in need of assistance.
What3words can be downloaded from the Apple or Android stores, or you can download the Emergency+ App for easy access to all emergency services - https://emergencyapp.triplezero.gov.au/.
Even without data connection, the app functions the same so you can still view the location of any what3words address you enter. You can also navigate to it using compass mode.
As with anything else, to share a what3words address over the phone or in a text message you need phone signal. To load maps, or to share in other apps or social media, you need a data connection.
Find out more about what3words here - https://what3words.com/about.