Hikers, mountain bikers, encouraged to download ‘what3words’ location app

Jun 28, 2023, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Two Utah cities are trying to spread the word about a location app that helps search and rescue teams quickly find people who need help.

The app is called “what3words.” Instead of lengthy GPS coordinates, it provides users with a three-word code to pinpoint a precise location.

“We divided the world into 3-meter squares and gave each square a unique combination of three words,” reads a company website description. “It’s the easiest way to find and share exact locations.”

For example, one of Sandy’s entrances to the Bell Canyon Trail has the three-word combination of love, cage, and arch.

The fire departments in Sandy and Draper are teaming up to install signs at trailheads with QR codes to encourage hikers to download the app before heading into the canyons.

“They can quickly access the app, give the 911 center what the three words are, and then that gets relayed to us, and we can use that map to come right to you,” explained Sandy Fire Chief Jeff Bassett. “This just gives us three simple words, and we don’t need to worry about if someone can’t understand the latitude or longitude of the map.”

Signs of the QR code that will be placed on trails for hikers to download. (KSL TV)

The Draper City Fire Department said location confusion can lead to lost time during a rescue mission.

“Up Corner Canyon, when people are mountain biking or hiking, they’ll start off on one trail, and they’ll know which trail they start off on, but several of these trails crisscross, and they end up on a different trail and don’t realize it,” said Kevin Holt, administrative Battalion Chief for Draper City Fire Department.

Holt said 911 dispatchers can send the three words over the radio to search and rescue team members or directly to their computers, tablets, and phones.

“The times that we’ve been able to use it successfully, it has taken us right to the patient,” he said.

Draper and Sandy said the trailhead signs would be installed in the coming weeks and that the app is free for the cities to use and free for people to download.

KSL 5 TV Live

Outdoors & Recreation

A Utah mountain biker is recalling the moments when a family of badgers approached him at Corner Ca...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Mountain biker recounts aggressive badger standoff in Draper

A mountain biker is recounting a tense standoff with a family of badgers, who got so aggressive they nearly forced him off the trail.

2 days ago

A hiking trail in Utah County....

Andrew Adams

Rescuers prepare for what could be a busy Memorial Day weekend

Search and rescue crews are getting ready for a potentially busy Memorial Day weekend as they are urging people to prepare for the elements.

2 days ago

The north side beach of Bear Lake, Idaho, as the lake levels rise and over take the beach....

Mike Anderson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

High water levels at Bear Lake mean less beach space this summer

The popular summer vacation spot will have much less beach room because water levels have nearly exceeded Bear Lake.

2 days ago

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AR - JULY 13: A mule train ascends the South Keibab Trail at the Grand ...

Michael Houck

Flagstaff man suspected of lighting car on fire in Grand Canyon National Park

An Arizona man is suspected of lighting a Grand Canyon National Park employee's car on fire, causing it to spread to a nearby structure on Saturday. 

2 days ago

The Logan Canyon, a year after the major spring runoff that hit the state...

Mike Anderson

Some campgrounds set to reopen for Memorial Day weekend, others still recovering from record runoff

Many campground operators are making the finishing touches before opening for the Memorial Day weekend.

3 days ago

Some of the dozens of loaner life jackets that were donated to a Life Jacket Loaner Station at Jord...

Alex Cabrero

Over 900 loaner life jackets donated to Utah lakes and reservoirs

With Memorial Day weekend on the way, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is donating over 900 life jackets to loaner stations to help prevent drownings.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Hikers, mountain bikers, encouraged to download ‘what3words’ location app