Next-generation emergency situation platform uses 3 word addresses at the biggest sporting event in the US.

The Super Bowl is one of the largest sporting events in the US calendar. Super Bowl 50 was a week-long celebration of public and corporate parties and an estimated 1.1 million locals and out-of-town fans visited events across San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Intterra, a geospatial technology company that specialises in public safety and emergency situational awareness, were tasked with coordinating many of these events. In all over 100 special NFL and corporate events were planned and managed with their software during Championship Week.

Their platform of real-time data, field data collectors and analytical tools provide first responders with information to support immediate decision making to help save lives and preserve property.

Intterra is being used across the US including the US Forest Service, the States of Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and many other County and City Public Safety Agencies including the Santa Clara County Fire Department which recently coordinated the public safety response to Super Bowl 50.

The communication of location is one of the key barriers when managing an emergency situation. Even in a built-up and developed area street addressing might not cover specific areas and is often not accurate enough. GPS coordinates are accurate but prone to error when communicating their 18 digits across a radio or in person. To solve the location issue Intterra have integrated what3words into their system.

sb 50 intterra what3words

what3words is a simple location referencing system based on a global grid of 3mx3m where each square has been pre-allocated a fixed 3 word address. Using an unambiguous sequence of words which refers to an area just a few metres in size, means people can communicate that location more quickly and easily than with any other system.


what3words is used broadly within the Intterra SITUATIONANALYST software platform, deployed to every wildfire, city, county and government customer. It has become a popular feature for customers as they manage operations and analysis functions.

“With the complexity of major sporting events like Super Bowl 50, integration and location are key. We must know what is happening and where at every moment.

The integration of 911 and tracking systems are fundamental – but they don’t solve every issue with communicating locations. To that end, we are very pleased with our direct integration with what3words.

In and around a sporting venue, communicating precise (3×3 metre) locations with 3 clear, unambiguous words take the guesswork out of “where” for us.

We find what3words much easier to communicate than coordinates over the radio.” Says David Blankinship, Principal at Intterra who constructed the regional system used by fire and law enforcement agencies to support the events.

Using any available device, mobile, tablet or laptop, first responders could see where all the ‘routine’ incidents and all responders were in real time, and could take appropriate response decisions. All the data about incidents and live geoanalytics were coordinated this way to help allocate resources, and communicated via maps during the special events that were ongoing through the week.