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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
16
Jan 16

Free Map Tool Which Could Be An Amazing Events Resource

I initially wrote this first line to read 'this doesn't happen me often' but I then realised this has NEVER happened me before. Today I was introduced to something beautifully simple that I think could really help us make our events safer.

That there is a pin dropped on a map in what we hope will be our new offices. 

If you would kindly direct your attention to the red bar at the bottom you will see that it says 'stored.axed.actors'. Now, you may take it from me that our hopefully-soon-to-be-Cuckoo-offices does not, in fact, act as storage for actors who have been axed from their shows.

Those 3 words identify a 3m x 3m area within that room and that's what the geniuses over at what3words.com have done.

Mapping the world

Head over to their site and watch the (extremely well done) video as it explains the product better than I can in words. I say product, but it's free and that's fantastic.

Apparently around 75% of the world does not have an address. The beauty of what3words is that it maps the ENTIRE world. Add to that, that it's in 8 languages already and that it works offline, not requiring you to have an internet connection and it's obvious they've built something great here.

It has some truly amazing humanitarian applications and I'm sure there will be more ways it will be used in the future to improve things for people in all sorts of ways. 

The general gist is this - every 3m x 3m space in the entire world can be identified and navigated to by using 3 simple words. So, much like you might give a postal address or latitude and longtitude to identify somewhere, with what3words.com you can use 3 simple words. 

Those 3 simple words are unique to that exact 3m x 3m space. So, for instance, other 3m x 3m spaces within our hopefully-soon-to-be-Cuckoo-offices are located at dame.prep.shots and foam.mess.rents

On a complete tangent, the fact that a 3m x 3m area within our hopefully-soon-to-be-Cuckoo-offices is designated foam.mess.rents is at a minimum oddly amusing and at best it's an absolute sign. You see, we run foam shows. They are messy. We rent the equipment out. See? Spooky. 

Why I'm excited

The potential application of this for events is quite simple but highly important. By using this system, we can identify any 3m x 3m area on our event site. This is particularly helpful when you consider the need to identify where a patient requiring medical assistance is or the location of a child who has been found and needs to be reunited with his family.

We have systems for this already but nothing that provides accuracy to a 3m x 3m space. Generally it's 'Zone this' or 'Area that' or 'just down from the book shop, there, about a 3rd of the way into the crowd'. Being able to pinpoint locations to within 3m x 3m, easily communicate that space in 3 simple words and direct resources direct to that 3m x 3m is powerful.

When you consider a huge greenfield site or a city-wide event and that people working on them don't necessarily know them inside out, then you start to see (I hope) how this could be quite beneficial.

In fact, you can read here about how Festival Medical Services are employing the system to do exactly what I just described. Furthermore, I know the good people who run Glastonbury are using it too and planning to develop on how they're already using it.

The bottom line

This has HUGE potential. I've not done much with it yet but I will and I'll let you know how it goes. 

I've spoken to one of the Co-Founders over on Twitter and he seems like a good guy. Watch this space. You can check out what3words on the Twitter

Have a think. Maybe you can find a handy application for what3words. 

Head over here to read about the current applications, awards they've won and more. 

You heard it here first, folks. . . 

 
comments
Alan Wilson
January 18, 2016, 02:50 pm

Mark, I've been trialling it myself when preparing Crowd Management Plans - working on one now. When listing key venue locations/facilities, I know have a column with the what3words address. Also, Emergency Responses where time can be critical, needs accurate information. Nothing disturbs me more than seeing an Ambulance on Priority 1 driving around a venue because they can't locate the correct Gate Number. Hey, Gate signs are usually parallel to the roads - I get that - and it's really, really dumb. Flick them the what3word address so they can arrive in the shortest possible time. Put it another way - generate a venue/event map with the what3words addresses listed under the key locations. Trust this helps. Give me a shout how it works for you and bounce ideas off me anytime. Cheers from the Antipodes - @CrowdControlGuy

Mark
January 16, 2016, 02:11 pm

Thanks for the comment Alan. I can definitely see some really simple but highly effective applications for what3words in the events we run. We'll be trialing it soon I'm sure. Do you use it regularly on your events in Australia now?

Alan Wilson
January 16, 2016, 02:30 am

Hi Mark - using whatewords not only quickly pinpoints where event staff/patrons are located but it increases the speed of response, especially where casualities are concerned. Another trick is for users to send the 3word link through to the Event Control Room and with one click, staff know exactly where to dispatch the response teams. Sounds like you have it already got it all figured out - responses to city wide events just got easier. Cheers for this blog - @crowdcontrolguy (Australia)

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