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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Guelph police use geolocation app What3Words to find lost hikers

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Guelph police say the geolocation app, What3Words, which the service just started using, is already proving its worth after lost hikers were quickly found by officers on Saturday.

A 911 call was placed at 7 p.m. from a woman who said she was unable to find her way out of Preservation Park in the city’s south end.

The operator sent the 22-year-old a link to What3Words, which is a website and app that assigns a unique three-word code to every three-by-three-metre square on Earth.

Police said the lost hiker was able to open the link and read off her three-word location — foods.verge.delight — which allowed the operator to know the caller’s exact locations.

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Responding officers, who all have the app on their service phones, were then sent the three words as well.

They were able to find the woman and her friend unharmed within 30 minutes of the original call, police said.

Guelph police became the latest service in Canada to begin using What3Words on March 1.

The Guelph Fire Department and the city’s paramedic service also use the app and residents are encouraged to download it in case an exact location is ever needed during an emergency.

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