Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> QZ > Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phra
nettime's_entropic-game-refinery on Tue, 14 Jun 2016 03:51:28 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> QZ > Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phrases

< http://qz.com/705273/mongolia-is-changing-all-its-addresses-to-three-word-phrases/ >

Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phrases

Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its
national post office starts referring to locations by a series of
three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.

The new system is devised by a British startup called What3Words,
which has assigned a three-word phrase to every point on the
globe. The system is designed to solve the an often-ignored
problem of 75% of the earth’s population, an estimated 4 billion
people, who have no address for mailing purposes, making it
difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in
an emergency. In What3Words’ system, the idea is that a series of
words is easier to remember than the strings of number that make
up GPS coordinates. Each unique phrase corresponds to a specific
9-square-meter spot on the map.

For example, the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes
sulk.held.raves; the Tokyo Tower is located at
fans.helpless.collects; and the Stade de France is at

Mongolians will be the first to use the system for government mail
delivery, but organizations including the United Nations, courier
companies, and mapping firms like Navmii already use What3Words’

Mongol Post is switching to the What3Words system because there
are too few named streets in its territory. The mail network
provides service over 1.5 million square km (580,000 square
miles), an area that’s three times the size of Spain, though much
of that area is uninhabited. Mongolia is among the world’s most
sparsely populated countries, and about a quarter of its
population is nomadic, according to the World Bank.

Even in the capital city of Ulaanbataar, not all streets are
named. When people don’t have a street address, the current
solution is for them to travel to a collection point to pick up
their post, says Chris Sheldrick, the co-founder and chief
executive of What3Words. People have to write a series of detailed
directions, in addition to the address, so that mail-delivery
people know where to drop off letters, Sheldrick says.

For example, the new system would change the address of the US
Embassy in Mongolia from:

	US Embassy
	Denver Street #3
	11th Micro-District
	Ulaanbaatar 14190

The new address will simply be: constants.stuffy.activism

You’ll see that the two points correspond, although the What3Words
address offers more fine-grained pinpointing of the embassy’s

Mongol Post will start using the system sometime next month,
Sheldrick says. In practice, this means it will pay What3Words to
license a bit of software that converts three-word addresses into
GPS coordinates. When a piece of mail with a three-word address
enters the postal system, it’ll be converted into GPS coordinates
for delivery. Users can look up these three-word locations, which
have been translated into Mongolian, for free on the What3Words
website or app.

     Correction: An earlier version of this article said What3Words
     uses 3-square-meter spots on the map. It actually uses
     9-square-meter spots.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org
#   {AT} nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: