A new way exists to find places here

The New York Times reported this week on Tonga’s adoption of the global addressing system known as What3Words. This system, available in at least 14 languages including English and Spanish, assigns a three-word address to every 10-meter by 10-meter square of the earth’s surface.

Expats, at least, are always amused and often befuddled by Costa Rica’s haphazard non-system of descriptive addresses, e.g., “From the church in San Isidro, 100 meters north, then 75 meters east, then 50 meters north, second brown house on the left (unless it’s been painted, of course).” From the Bar Don Pedro, also in San Isidro, the directions are entirely different. And I think there are seven San Isidros in Costa Rica to choose among. I suspect a lot of Costa Ricans struggle with the current system as well.

Instead, What3Words assigns each 10-meter by 10-meter square a three-word address that defines it uniquely. So if you want to find that house in San Isidro, you type “coatrack.mouse.shark” or some other unique three-word combination and What3Words pinpoints it on a map for you. It even works where there is no Internet connectivity.

Costa Rican Correo, are you listening? See www.what3words.com.

David C. Murray
Grecia, Alajuela
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