Singapore Police Force uses what3words, an innovative location technology, to help callers communicate precise incident locations using just three words.

In an emergency situation, identifying precisely where help is needed is essential to getting resources to the scene quickly. But people who call the emergency services for help often struggle to say where they are, especially if they’re in an area with no addresses or landmarks.

Lost in the forest

This is exactly what happened when two Singaporean 14-year-old boys got lost while exploring the forest near MacRitchie Reservoir. They had taken no food or water, and weren’t adequately dressed. As evening drew near, the boys called Singapore Police Force (SPF) for help, but couldn’t describe where they were.

Fortunately, SPF call operators had been trained to help callers give their accurate location using what3words. This innovative location technology provides a very simple way to communicate accurate locations. It has divided the world in 3 metre squares, and given each square a unique identifier made of three random words. ///wiping.flat.stop, for example, is an exact 3 metre square on one of Coney Island’s beaches.

Rescued using what3words

Following the call handler’s instructions, the boys used the free what3words app to view the three words for their exact location. They read them out over the phone, and Singapore Police Force also used the what3words app to see precisely where they were, and dispatch help to the exact spot.

Simple, efficient and easy to use

The what3words app is free to download for both iOS and Android. Unlike sharing a location pin, what3words works offline, making it ideal for use in remote areas with an unreliable data connection such as hiking trails and beaches. what3words addresses are available in over 45 languages including the four main languages spoken in Singapore – Tamil, Malay, English and Mandarin Chinese – and other Asia-Pacific languages including Bahasa Indonesia, Thai and Vietnamese.

More and more emergency services are using what3words

Singapore Police Force is one of a growing number of emergency services globally using what3words, including over 80% of the UK services, plus several in Canada, Australia and USA. Emergency services use what3words via the free app, the online map at what3words.com or by integrating the technology into their computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems.

Learn more about what3words for emergency services.