An address system that labels every 3-metre squared area on earth with 3 words is bringing sense to one of Rio's favelas, and helping Olympics visitors find their way. Matthew Stock reports.
Rio's largest favela is just an empty space according to many normal maps. Over 70,000 residents in Rocinha don't have an official address, and the Brazilian post office won't deliver here. But thanks to this app, residents can have their own unique three word address. A local delivery service is now using it to get people their packages. London-based company what3words has divided the world into 57 trillion 3-by-3 metre squares. Every one of these squares has a unique three-word address. So, for example, the face of the Sphinx at Giza in Egypt is at "foiled.policy.blueberry" What3words says it's more precise and simpler than regular addresses or co-ordinates, giving people in developing countries a fixed address for the first time. They've now partnered with Olympics organisers to help visitors get around during the Games. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRIS SHELDRICK, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF WHAT3WORDS, SAYING: "We're in an app called 'Rio Go' which is one of the official apps to actually get people around Rio so they can plan their transport routes. And you can type your three word address straight into that and it'll get you there." If, say, you wanted to meet next to stand 102 at the Olympic stadium, you'd simply type "gliders.blizzard.pickle" into the what3words app. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRIS SHELDRICK, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF WHAT3WORDS, SAYING: "So somebody would get the what3words app, they would find the three word address where they wanted; that precise entrance to the stadium that they're going to meet. What they would then do it give you the three words and then you simply type the three words into the Rio Go app and say this is where I want to go, and it will then route you there using the best public transport to exactly that 3-metre entrance to the site." Half-a-million foreigners are expected to pass through Rio during the Games that run until August 21. What3words hopes their precise and simple system can keep fans on track and ahead of the Games.