Finding a fallen powerline or a customer in trouble has never been so easy, thanks to our adoption of an app that pinpoints locations in seconds.
The what3words app, which is free to download, divides the world into 3m squares and gives each one a unique three word address. This means that every point on the planet can now be identified simply – from poles and pylons to construction site entrances.
As a result, customers can report incidents such as damage to overhead lines or substations, even if they’re not entirely sure where they are. Using the three words linked to their location on the app, callers can direct WPD staff straight to the incident.
Team Manager Rebecca Betty said: “If someone is on a footpath or driving along and they see a line down, they can tell us where they are using what3words. It is really useful for people who are not at a fixed location.
“If a farmer has taken a line down in the middle of a field, we are able to pinpoint his precise location. We had another customer ring about a line down at her stable yard.”
The system is also helpful to anyone who has a question about a new connection but may not yet have a postal address. By standing in the middle of the building plot and using the app, they can tell us exactly where they are.
Health and Safety Adviser Craig Wakefield-Coates has been promoting the app to WPD colleagues and to customers who are more likely to be in isolated or hard-to-find locations.
Craig said: “In an emergency situation, we traditionally use a grid reference which is a long string of numbers and easy to get wrong. Or we rely on a postcode which does not pinpoint an exact location, especially if you are talking about the middle of a field.
“With what3words, we can pinpoint someone’s location to the exact square.”
Craig and his safety colleagues actively encourage WPD field staff to use the app, which can be downloaded via the app store or Google Play, and a short video is being planned to explain its uses.
Farmers and agricultural workers are also being urged to get the app to make sure they can be reached as quickly as possible in an emergency.
Craig added: “A farm worker can be out in a field with no landmarks around them and a postcode is probably no use. Having the exact location pinpointed means they can be found much more quickly.”
what3words enables teams to reach incidents quickly. A boat team could easily identify this location at Tintern Quarry using the three-word address.
Photograph by SJ Bedford Photography.
WPD locations by what3words:
Avonbank – figure.loops.mental
Chesterfield depot – buns.eagles.meatballs
Ty Coch – finds.sits.eagle
Coventry depot – select.object.hung
Stamford depot – pilots.bats.garden
Weston-Super-Mare – icon.losses.puff
Llanfihangel-ar-arth – answers.fewer.blog
Ludlow – report.imperious.incline
How to find your current what3words address:
1) Head to the what3words website or open the what3words app and tap to see your current location, or tap and enter a street address.
2) Tap the grid button to zoom for more detail.
3) Switch to satellite and move the pin to select the precise location.
4) The three word address is displayed at the top of the screen.
Once the three word address is displayed, users can get directions to that precise location using their preferred navigation app, such as Google Maps.
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