What3words

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What3words

Colin Smale

I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.

Could/should we be doing anything to support/facilitate/implement this system in OSM?

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/feature/2434706/move-aside-google-maps-the-future-of-navigation-is-just-three-words

--colin

 

 


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Re: What3words

Michael Reichert
Hi Colin,

Am 2015-11-22 um 11:39 schrieb Colin Smale:
> I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel
> coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.
>
> Could/should we be doing anything to support/facilitate/implement this
> system in OSM?

No. It is a propietary system and there is no place for such stuff at OSM.

Best regards

Michael

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Re: What3words

Paul Norman
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
On 11/22/2015 2:39 AM, Colin Smale wrote:
>
> I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel
> coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.
>
> Could/should we be doing anything to support/facilitate/implement this
> system in OSM?
>

No. Other people might talk about the numerous problems how what3words
doesn't do what it claims to accomplish or flaws in the technical
implementation, but there's a much simpler reason why it doesn't belong
on osm.org: It's a closed proprietary system that others can't reuse.

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Re: What3words

Colin Smale

 

 

I guess there would be no objections to someone adding addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

Surely the established addressing systems are also closed and proprietary, in the sense that some organisation with a sanctioned monopoly tells YOU what your address is - you cannot just make it up yourself. Street naming, postal codes etc are definitely in this category. We have been crowdsourcing postcodes for years without problems.

Integration with nominatim for example, which will need to use the w3w API, is a different subject as this would need licensing.

On 2015-11-22 11:46, Paul Norman wrote:

On 11/22/2015 2:39 AM, Colin Smale wrote:

I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.

Could/should we be doing anything to support/facilitate/implement this system in OSM?


No. Other people might talk about the numerous problems how what3words doesn't do what it claims to accomplish or flaws in the technical implementation, but there's a much simpler reason why it doesn't belong on osm.org: It's a closed proprietary system that others can't reuse.

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Re: What3words

sdoerr
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
I've read articles about it a few times, and for fun I sometimes post my w3w location on Facebook. But I don't know if it's achieved much traction.

One maps site that I use from time to time, www.streetmap.co.uk, includes w3w addresses for searching and on its 'convert co-ordinates' screen, e.g. http://www.streetmap.co.uk/idgc.srf?x=530051&y=179922 (10 Downing Street).

Maybe our search box could do the same, either directly or through integrating into Nominatim. I wouldn't suggest storing w3w addresses in the main OSM database though.

Steve


On 22/11/2015 10:39, Colin Smale wrote:

I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.

Could/should we be doing anything to support/facilitate/implement this system in OSM?

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/feature/2434706/move-aside-google-maps-the-future-of-navigation-is-just-three-words

--colin

 

 



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Re: What3words

Tom Hughes-3
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
On 22/11/15 11:07, Colin Smale wrote:

> I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
> addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

I don't see the point, and it's certainly not ground truthable.

> Integration with nominatim for example, which will need to use the w3w
> API, is a different subject as this would need licensing.

They would be more than happy though - we have refused them several
times already.

Tom

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Re: What3words

Frederik Ramm
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
Hi,

On 11/22/2015 11:39 AM, Colin Smale wrote:
> I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel
> coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.

It's a blatant attempt at commercializing location. Under the (rather
tasteless) guise of finally being able to bring Christmas presents to
the slums of this world, they try to get everyone to use their API. In
truth they're just planning to make money through selling vanity
locations. If businesses pay millions for top level domains, goes the
thinking, then they will also pay millions to be found under
"great.shoes". By adding their API to your web site, you're pimping out
your search form for them to harvest money from it.

Ask yourself whether the venture capitalists would really fork out tons
of money for someone who wants to bring addressing to the poor.

Bye
Frederik

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Re: What3words

Tom Hughes-3
In reply to this post by sdoerr
On 22/11/15 11:13, Steve Doerr wrote:

> Maybe our search box could do the same, either directly or through
> integrating into Nominatim. I wouldn't suggest storing w3w addresses in
> the main OSM database though.

As I said we have been asked to do this at least twice and we have
refused on both occasions.

That's partly a question of not wanting to add something that may never
gain any traction and partly a question of whether we should be
supporting what is essentially a proprietary project that uses a
patented algorithm and relies on a proprietary database.

Frankly, the main thing they're good at (apart from spamming me) is
whoring themselves in the media, which is why they always seem to be far
more significant than I think they really are.

Tom

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Re: What3words

SimonPoole
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
It is not as if there are not numerous alternative addressing schemes
see for example this list (which was produced for an open system from,
gosh, the goog).

 https://github.com/google/open-location-code/blob/master/docs/comparison.adoc
 





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Re: What3words

sabas88
Hi,
just for reference in May I saw a discussion on okfn-labs on "opening up" w3w by doing an open location code system (different from the Google one).


Regards,
Stefano

2015-11-22 12:37 GMT+01:00 Simon Poole <[hidden email]>:
It is not as if there are not numerous alternative addressing schemes
see for example this list (which was produced for an open system from,
gosh, the goog).

 https://github.com/google/open-location-code/blob/master/docs/comparison.adoc






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Re: What3words

Mateusz Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 12:07:43 +0100
Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
> I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
> addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

Only in cases where such "adress" is displayed on the ground.

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Re: What3words

SimonPoole
In reply to this post by sabas88

While developing a similar system to w3w might be an attractive proposal, have you checked what the w3w patent covers given that the thoughts in the referenced issue would seem to result in at least a very similar system?

Am 22.11.2015 um 13:00 schrieb Stefano:
Hi,
just for reference in May I saw a discussion on okfn-labs on "opening up" w3w by doing an open location code system (different from the Google one).


Regards,
Stefano

2015-11-22 12:37 GMT+01:00 Simon Poole <[hidden email]>:
It is not as if there are not numerous alternative addressing schemes
see for example this list (which was produced for an open system from,
gosh, the goog).

 https://github.com/google/open-location-code/blob/master/docs/comparison.adoc






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Re: What3words

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Mateusz Konieczny-2

 

 

On 2015-11-22 13:04, Mateusz Konieczny wrote:

On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 12:07:43 +0100
Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:
I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

Only in cases where such "adress" is displayed on the ground.
 
 
So the same as we do for postcodes then? I honestly don't see the difference. The criteria is not visibility, but verifiability.
 

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Re: What3words

Maarten Deen
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
On 2015-11-22 12:07, Colin Smale wrote:
> I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
> addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

Reading about what it is, it is just a lookup between some random three
words and a location. We don't map addr:latlon=51.34,3.45 in OSM, why
would we map addr:w3w? Especially since it is just a lookup. The way I
see it, this is something you would add to nominatim.

I also don't understand this:
> "It's a non-hierarchical system. The problem with latitude and
> longitude coordinates is that if you make a mistake when writing them
> down you will be completely lost. But with our system similar sounding
> words are located very far apart so people don't get lost if you hear
> it wrong."

First, making a mistake in a lat/lon coordinate does not by definition
mean you are completely lost. It is when you make a mistake in
significant digits (add one degree to the latitude and you're way off)
but it isn't when you make a mistake in the non-significant digits (the
difference between 51.3456247 and 51.3456248 is mere centimeters).
Secondly, if you write a similar sounding word wrong, you are completely
off. I mean, they specificaly say "similar sounding words are located
very far apart".
So if someone tells you nice.place.here and you use nice.place.hear, you
are by definition not near your intended location.

So it seems to me it is already flawed in concept.

Regards,
Maarten

>
> Surely the established addressing systems are also closed and
> proprietary, in the sense that some organisation with a sanctioned
> monopoly tells YOU what your address is - you cannot just make it up
> yourself. Street naming, postal codes etc are definitely in this
> category. We have been crowdsourcing postcodes for years without
> problems.
>
> Integration with nominatim for example, which will need to use the w3w
> API, is a different subject as this would need licensing.
>
> On 2015-11-22 11:46, Paul Norman wrote:
>
>> On 11/22/2015 2:39 AM, Colin Smale wrote:
>>
>>> I have heard a few times recently about what3words, a new novel
>>> coordinate/addressing system for the whole world.
>>>
>>> Could/should we be doing anything to support/facilitate/implement
>>> this system in OSM?
>>
>> No. Other people might talk about the numerous problems how
>> what3words doesn't do what it claims to accomplish or flaws in the
>> technical implementation, but there's a much simpler reason why it
>> doesn't belong on osm.org: It's a closed proprietary system that
>> others can't reuse.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
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Re: What3words

sabas88
In reply to this post by SimonPoole


2015-11-22 13:16 GMT+01:00 Simon Poole <[hidden email]>:

While developing a similar system to w3w might be an attractive proposal, have you checked what the w3w patent covers given that the thoughts in the referenced issue would seem to result in at least a very similar system?


Actually no, I like how they patented things like "ONEWORD".

Brb gotta retire my demo

Thanks,
Stefano



Am 22.11.2015 um 13:00 schrieb Stefano:
Hi,
just for reference in May I saw a discussion on okfn-labs on "opening up" w3w by doing an open location code system (different from the Google one).


Regards,
Stefano

2015-11-22 12:37 GMT+01:00 Simon Poole <[hidden email]>:
It is not as if there are not numerous alternative addressing schemes
see for example this list (which was produced for an open system from,
gosh, the goog).

 https://github.com/google/open-location-code/blob/master/docs/comparison.adoc






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Re: What3words

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Maarten Deen

 

 

On 2015-11-22 13:18, Maarten Deen wrote:

On 2015-11-22 12:07, Colin Smale wrote:
I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

Reading about what it is, it is just a lookup between some random three words and a location. We don't map addr:latlon=51.34,3.45 in OSM, why would we map addr:w3w? Especially since it is just a lookup. The way I see it, this is something you would add to nominatim.
 
I see it as a kind of alternative postcode. You advertise your own location as a w3w, and anyone who needs to get there does a lookup through
their apps or API to find out where it is and get the lat/lon. Which is more or less what the postman does, or any of the millions of applications which allow you to input
a postcode to select a location.
 
But the core of their ambition seems not to be a direct competitor to existing addressing/postcode systems in the developed world, but as a
simple-to-use system for the 75% of the world that doesn't have a decent system yet. That, and to make money of course.
 


I also don't understand this:"It's a non-hierarchical system. The problem with latitude and longitude coordinates is that if you make a mistake when writing them down you will be completely lost. But with our system similar sounding words are located very far apart so people don't get lost if you hear it wrong."
First, making a mistake in a lat/lon coordinate does not by definition mean you are completely lost. It is when you make a mistake in significant digits (add one degree to the latitude and you're way off) but it isn't when you make a mistake in the non-significant digits (the difference between 51.3456247 and 51.3456248 is mere centimeters).
Secondly, if you write a similar sounding word wrong, you are completely off. I mean, they specificaly say "similar sounding words are located very far apart".
So if someone tells you nice.place.here and you use nice.place.hear, you are by definition not near your intended location.
 
 
As I understand it, they have avoided homophones like your example. The idea of placing similar-sounding words far apart geographically is that you would be instantly alerted to an error. If you expect a location in North London and it translates to Peru, a bell would ring an you would double-check it. But if you the location you hear translates to one 1km from what was intended, you might be going round in circles for hours trying to find it.
 

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Re: What3words

Mateusz Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:16:24 +0100
Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

>  
>
> On 2015-11-22 13:04, Mateusz Konieczny wrote:
>
> > On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 12:07:43 +0100
> > Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
> >> addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?
> >
> > Only in cases where such "adress" is displayed on the ground.
>
> So the same as we do for postcodes then? I honestly don't see the
> difference. The criteria is not visibility, but verifiability.
>  

Main problem with What3words is that it is a small project with nearly
no usage. Adding it in places where it has no real usage would be
useless, pointless and spammy.

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Re: What3words

Daniel Kastl-4
In reply to this post by Colin Smale
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Hash: SHA256


>
> I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
> addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?
>
> Surely the established addressing systems are also closed and
> proprietary, in the sense that some organisation with a sanctioned
> monopoly tells YOU what your address is - you cannot just make it
> up yourself. Street naming, postal codes etc are definitely in
> this category. We have been crowdsourcing postcodes for years
> without problems.
>

The difference in their proprietary system (if you want to call
address systems in in countries closed and proprietary) is, that when
their API (and "algorithm") goes away, you won't find any address
anymore. It's totally unreliable to depend on a proprietary API to
locate an address, and a waste of time to add such data to OSM in my
opinion.

Regards,
Daniel




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eMail: [hidden email]
Web: https://georepublic.info
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Re: What3words

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Mateusz Konieczny-2

 

 

On 2015-11-22 13:42, Mateusz Konieczny wrote:

On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:16:24 +0100
Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:



On 2015-11-22 13:04, Mateusz Konieczny wrote:

On Sun, 22 Nov 2015 12:07:43 +0100
Colin Smale <[hidden email]> wrote:

I guess there would be no objections to someone adding
addr:w3w:en=nice.place.here ? Or addr:w3w=en:nice.place.here ?

Only in cases where such "adress" is displayed on the ground.

So the same as we do for postcodes then? I honestly don't see the
difference. The criteria is not visibility, but verifiability.

Main problem with What3words is that it is a small project with nearly
no usage. Adding it in places where it has no real usage would be
useless, pointless and spammy.
 
 
...and once again, as seems to be the norm in OSM, any minority interest which is not supported by the oligarchy gets mercilessly shot down.
 
 
 
 

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Re: What3words

Colin Smale
In reply to this post by Daniel Kastl-4

 

 

 

On 2015-11-22 13:49, Daniel Kastl wrote:


The difference in their proprietary system (if you want to call
address systems in in countries closed and proprietary) is, that when
their API (and "algorithm") goes away, you won't find any address
anymore. It's totally unreliable to depend on a proprietary API to
locate an address, and a waste of time to add such data to OSM in my
opinion.
 
 

From their website:

If we, what3words ltd, are ever unable to maintain the what3words technology or make arrangements for it to be maintained by a third-party (with that third-party being willing to make this same commitment), then we will release our source code into the public domain. We will do this in such a way and with suitable licences and documentation to ensure that any and all users of what3words, whether they are individuals, businesses, charitable organisations, aid agencies, governments or anyone else can continue to rely on the what3words system.

 


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