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This app gives a location in a 3x3m box. Could it be incorporated into the recording system particularly if using a mobile device.

What would be the advantage

What would be the advantage of paying to use a proprietary system which attempts to (poorly) duplicate the existing grid reference system?


What3Words is not a paid for proprietory system: it is free. The point is that it is much easier to give an accurate location than trying to locate your position on a map and then read off the coordinates. What3Words is more accurate than an 8 figure grid reference.

Please can this be added as an option to specify the location?

Gustav Clark
It give the precise location

It give the precise location of a point, but does not tell you where that precise point is.  Given flaunting.cork.framework could you tell me what county that is in, without decoding it into GPS co-ordinates.  Doing a search for all records for a 1K square would mean either getting all of the What3Words for points in that sqaure and searching the database,  or decoding all the points using What3Words in the entire database and then do a normal search.

What3Words is totaly proprietary and is only free to individuals and for small-scale use.  The underlying algorithms are totally locked down and the company has refused all efforts to make it openly available.  Nobody knows what plans the company has but the presumption is that at some stage they will sell out to either Google or Microsoft.  Iti is free now because they want a large userbase to leverage a high price.


A mobile device already has a built in GPS. What3words relies on this to produce the 3 words.  They are of no use at all for recording purposes as they do not appear on a map as they are a random sets of words. They are disorganised reference system wheres the GPS coordinates can be converted to other grid reference systems.


Mike Fox
Grid Reference free app

I use the free app Grid Reference by Arthur Embleton it gives you the grid ref where you are (only really works ourdoors but not a problem for nature recorders). I set it to 6 fig accuracy but it can be set to higher resolution if you need that. Much better than What3words IMO.

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