Before this academic year, typing the name of any campus building into an online address form would likely direct you to the Administration building at 1200 East Colton Ave. Now, students are able to navigate directions to and from their location with a new system of address. Each room in each building has an assigned identifying address in the form of a “Know Your 9-1-1 Address” red poster with the room’s number, building, street address and its what3words address.
What3words is a unique combination of words that helps pinpoint the exact location of a place within a 3×3 meter square. To use the system, go to the what3words website, or the accompanying app, and type in the words you see in the poster. You can share your 3 word combination with other people, or save your most frequented locations. You can also change the appearance of the map – there are five different map types to choose from, ranging from the standard Google map view to the Esri map familiar to many U of R students.
According to the what3words website, the words for each square are permanently determined based on a mathematical algorithm that takes into account the ease of pronunciation and usage frequency of the language most used in the region. Even if you don’t speak English, what3words is available in 54 languages.
This project to assign addresses to rooms and buildings was done as “part of an ongoing effort to further strengthen and enhance our safety, security and emergency preparedness programming,” according to a university-wide email from Stan Skipworth, Interim Associate Vice President of Facilities, and Tony Gorrell, Interim Associate Vice President of Public Safety and Emergency Management on Sept. 6.
Though the project was undertaken over several months, according to Gorrell, it is still ongoing until mid-November.
“The initial rollout was so well received, we were asked to include additional locations,” Gorrell wrote in an email in response to the Redlands Bulldog’s inquiry.
Gorrell further explained that the “significantly robust availability of GPS technologies” was partly the reason why this project was able to develop. Gorrell’s team was able to assign these addresses thanks to land and parcel information from the City of Redlands and San Bernardino County planning departments. From now on, all future constructions will follow this same addressing process and standards, Gorrell said.
Photo by Quynh Nguyen.
Quynh Nguyen is a senior and double majoring in Economics and International Relations. She has written for the Redlands Bulldog since 2019 and she believes in the importance of journalism for a dynamic community like the U of R. In her free time, Quynh enjoys reading and playing Wordle.