South Simcoe Police Service now using What3Words app

Will help communicators pinpoint the caller's whereabouts

from South Simcoe Police

South Simcoe Police Service is now using the mobile application What3Words to help find 911 callers who don’t know their location.

In an emergency situation, the geolocating app will help communicators pinpoint the caller’s whereabouts so that officers can quickly respond to where help is needed. The app is to be used when a street address is unavailable. A municipal address is still the best way to ensure a quick response.

Every three-metre square in the world has been given a unique combination of three words: a what3words address. The system can be used via the free app for both iOS and Android or via the online map at what3words.com and is available in over 40 languages. The app works offline, making it ideal for use in the rural areas of Canada that might have a poor or unreliable internet connection.

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The communicator is able to enter the three words into the system, which converts the tag into latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. With the proper coordinates, call-takers can direct officers to the precise location of the person in need. If the caller does not have the app installed, the communicator can text them a link that will automatically display three words.

The process will assist officers in locating people in remote and forested areas where signal is limited and on our waterways. South Simcoe Police Service is encouraging members of the public to download the free app in case of an emergency. The cell phones used by officers already have the app installed.

“The app will help us respond to these types of incidents more effectively and reduce response times. Emergencies can happen anywhere. Using a what3words address gives callers a simple way to describe precisely where help is needed and allows emergency services to dispatch resources straight to the scene,” said Chief Andrew Fletcher.