what3words support in OpenStreetMap

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Fri Nov 15 13:59:41 UTC 2013

On Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM, Robert Sugar <robert.sugar at ebi.ac.uk> wrote:
> Thanks Jonathan. Just out of curiosity: do you think it would make any difference if the algorithm source would be freely available under a permissive license?

It would be a relative good, if the algorithm were licensed as FLOSS.
(Free, Libre and Open Source Software)  But only a relative good.
Code openness alone does nothing to address the other stated critical
failings of the scheme as mentioned by earlier respondents:

- difficult to distinguish from other failed schemes
- dilution of OpenStreetMap resources to implement and maintain
- currently closed, potentially patent encumbered

Jonathan's point about seeing them make even the tiniest move in the
right direction by a #switch2osm is excellent.

I suggest that the OpenStreetMap community would be eager to implement
such a scheme if that scheme can be shown as having a history of
exposing new users to OpenStreetMap, and of those users becoming
valued contributors to OpenStreetMap.  That is not the case with other
similar schemes and is not the case with the scheme promoted by Mr.

I find the example in Mr. Sugar's email telling.  I do not find
"oiled.vehicle.marriage" to be easier to remember than Eiffel Tower.
Nor is Eiffel Tower accurately described as a 3m x 3m square.  So by
that example, I think that the entire concept is flawed.

I can only hope that "drunken.crack.mayor" points to Toronto City
Hall[1].  That might save what3words.  Is that part of the scheme?
Can Platinum Members pay for custom IDs?  :-)

[1] recently the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, confessed to using crack
cocaine while drunk.

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