Meet the British Company That Wants to Change the White House’s Address

It also wants a new address for the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, and absolutely every other place.

The White House is seen in the early evening September 24, 2008 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Feb. 26, 2014, midnight

Say you’re hik­ing through the woods. You fall, break your leg, and can’t walk. You call 911. How do you tell res­cuers to find you? Right now, you’d have to read out your lat­it­ude and lon­git­ude, for ex­ample: 39.341324, -77.716231.

But what if you could send them to the same loc­a­tion by simply say­ing “math­em­at­ics.pelt.skis”?

Or say you’re at­tend­ing an event at a down­town hotel that, des­pite its single ad­dress, bor­ders sev­er­al dif­fer­ent streets and has mul­tiple en­trances. You could print out a lengthy list of dir­ec­tions to the cor­rect en­trance — or the event’s or­gan­izers could just tell you to ar­rive at onion.pea­nut.boats.

This al­tern­at­ive map­ping is the brainchild of the Lon­don-based com­pany what3­words, which has di­vided the globe in­to 57 tril­lion 3-by-3-meter squares, as­sign­ing each a ran­dom three-word iden­ti­fi­er.

The goal is to provide more-pre­cise loc­a­tions when con­ven­tion­al ad­dresses aren’t ad­equate — without the clunky 16-di­git GPS co­ordin­ates that are the cur­rent al­tern­at­ive.

“Giv­ing people post codes and even street ad­dresses is just not ac­cur­ate enough,” said Chris Sheldrick, one of the com­pany’s founders. “[Lat­it­ude and lon­git­ude] is really im­prac­tic­al. It’s like giv­ing your phone num­ber to someone — twice.”¦ Let’s get the ac­cur­acy of GPS co­ordin­ates, but let’s get a hu­man-friendly way to get people to use them.”

With the what3­words sys­tem, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. be­comes hours.alert.photo. The Cap­it­ol? Judges.tun­nel.bump. Pay­er.open.leads gets you to the Statue of Liberty.

The com­pany — run from vibes.ledge.double — launched its product in Ju­ly of last year, but this week it fi­nally turned loose a sales team and is pre­par­ing a new, nat­ive app that will in­clude dir­ec­tions to its loc­a­tions.

The map-read­ing pro­gram, Sheldrick says, has nearly end­less util­it­ies. In Aus­tralia, some emer­gency re­spon­ders are plan­ning to use what3­words to bet­ter find people who need help. Heli­copter pi­lots say it will make it easi­er to find land­ing zones. Oth­er nav­ig­a­tion apps want to in­cor­por­ate it to make loc­a­tion-find­ing more user-friendly. And every­day people could use it to find one an­oth­er at a mu­sic fest­iv­al or oth­er large ven­ue.

“The world of events could have a very pos­it­ive plat­form,” Sheldrick said, cit­ing his own back­ground as an event-lo­gist­ics or­gan­izer. The dif­fi­culty of herd­ing vo­lun­teers — es­pe­cially in a rur­al en­vir­on­ment — to a spe­cif­ic spot proved the dif­fi­culty of provid­ing loc­a­tions us­ing con­ven­tion­al ad­dress­ing.

An­oth­er pos­sib­il­ity? “We could really re­vo­lu­tion­ize ef­fi­ciency for de­liv­er­ies,” Sheldrick said, es­pe­cially for “any­body go­ing any­where for the first time. How of­ten is that in­form­a­tion re­li­able?” De­liv­ery com­pan­ies, he said, have ex­pressed lots of in­terest in us­ing what3­words — in­clud­ing a Dubai com­pany that plans to in­teg­rate it in­to its launch next month.

But, of course, for those three words to mean any­thing but gib­ber­ish, more people will have to be­come fa­mil­i­ar with the app. Sheldrick says it makes too much sense not to catch on. “I genu­inely be­lieve ad­op­tion will be fast,” he said.

What We're Following See More »
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
18 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
×