Street sceneHaving an address doesn’t usually appear on lists of basic human needs, but it turns out that 4 billion people don’t have one and that it can be a bit of a problem for them.

So full marks to Chris Sheldrick for spotting the problem and coming up with a nifty solution.

Basically, he’s created a global postcode by dividing the world up into 3x3m squares and allocated each one a unique three word code – easier to remember than a grid reference. So, for instance, “stockpile.chief.seafaring” is in the middle of the Saharah desert (OK, maybe nobody actually lives there, let alone asking Amazon to deliver – although there is an obvious business opportunity for their experimental drone service).

Apparently it has already been taken up by people living in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas (in Portuguese, obviously).

Bukingham Palace is “fence.gross.bats”

10 Downing Street is “input.caring.brain” (I wish)

The Whitehouse is “sulk.held.raves”

The duckpond in Oxford University Parks is “friend.figure.sound”

Love it. Love the simplicity. Love the lack of bureaucratic complexity. Love the fact that you can just take it off the shelf

what3words website (
Giving everyone in the world an address, BBC News, April 30th, 2015