Andi Best Freelance Designer

Motel Lion Idea

  • Published 23-08-2021
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Motel Lion Idea
What3Words - the app that laughs in the face of Google Maps in the precision stakes. Google Maps can occasionally orientate you to a road you're seeking an address along, but What3Words can deliver you to a specific gate, car parking space or decorative window box.
W3W have drawn a grid comprised of three metre by three metre cells spanning the entire globe, and used an algorithm to label each cell with a unique three word combination. It's these combinations that make navigating the map and relaying points with such precision possible.
A fair few articles have rushed to discredit W3W for reasons that aren't abundantly clear. For instance, this one bizarrely lists all the ways in which one's mobile phone may not be functioning correctly (battery depleted, lost or broken, no signal etc.) and relishes in how W3W would fail to assist under these circumstances. Quite how the author believes summoning help by other means under the same circumstances would be achieved is a mystery, so it's curious that the blame here is being levelled at W3W.
This piece makes a slightly stronger case for the shortcomings of the app, citing human error in relaying the necessary three words as being a major downfall. Of course, as the label suggests, human error is error originating from a human and not the tools they're using, so I think W3W is due a little more credit than it receives here too.
Faults aside, what concerns me about W3W is the target audience, and how the developers can sustain an app of such infrequent requirement. Pinpointing your location to the emergency services when you need rescuing in otherwise unmarked terrain is a great application of the tool for example, but how often does one experience this? Using it to find your friends and family in crowded places like festivals is another potential use case, assuming you somehow can't use the same device to simply ring your party and have them give you verbal guidance on how to find them. Again, how likely will that scenario present itself?
Signposting delivery drivers to the exact drop off location - OK. Adding a digital element to a classic treasure hunt - potentially...
I'm consumed by the number of installs this app must have, laying dormant on handsets across the world, waiting for the day their account holders come to mortal peril. It's inspired me to fabricate a different use for the app; plotting a tour of the precise locations across the globe where significant or irregular events have occurred, purely for your enjoyment.
My first and former abode, where I had my 30th birthday party, where I inducted myself into a host of DIY practices, and where I had to bag and bin a pigeon who casually and purposefully died on my front lawn after sitting perfectly still for about 8 hours.
Where a number of alcoholic beverages led me to the gents to find only a single urinal on the wall, which - oddly - appeared to be generously filled with compost and a plant sapling. Assuming (inebriated as I was) that this was some sort of unconventional eco-friendly toilet waste solution I proceeded to relieve myself, quickly discovering that in fact it was an unorthodox wall decoration absent of any plumbing. Soil flecked, urine shoes/trousers ensued.

Where, sitting at a cafe courtyard, my breakfast levitated off the table and exploded in a mass of mashed beans and spilt orange juice. My left cheek was pressed to the ground and the chair I was sat on merely moments ago now lay in front of me with its back legs contorted into a metallic slalom. "What the hell is going on here!?", I remember inwardly asking myself, as I surveyed the scene of carnage unfolding before me. I tried to stand, but found my legs were stuck; clamped hard under something, so flailing my arms was all the movement I could muster.
It transpired that an elderly lady had lost control of and subsequently parked her mobility scooter on top of me, ploughing into the scene at full speed and managing to somehow avoid everything and everyone else.

Where I didn't recognise comedian Lee Mack in the queue at the bar ahead of delivering his comedy set and I mimed pinching a bank note protruding from his back pocket for a laugh... before he rumbled me.

lights.vent.audit, motel.lion.idea,
The three locations where the horrendous tales in this blog post took place.

Where I feverishly swam for my life from a shark closing in on me as I was happily snorkelling the Egyptian waves. It's also the location where my friend laughed pathetically at me when it transpired the so called shark was a pair of fish no larger than a Coke bottle each, feasting on some marine life.

Where the catalyst of this story and its elusive antagonist begins.

Where I knocked Gok Wan from the top position of my first-hand celebrity encounter list (we did the awkward right-of-way dance in a shop doorway on Oxford Street - valley.audit.showed) and replaced him with Theo Paphitis with whom I shook hands and had my photograph taken whilst receiving my Small Business award.

Where I slipped over on a carpet slick with congealed bubble-machine fluid during a game of Musical Chairs and horrendously dislocated my shoulder in front of a host of gormless children and parents who did not come to my aid.
Where my friends and I unwittingly drove into a military controlled zone in the dead of night looking for our holiday lodgings. Despite being waved through a blockade by armed guards, it was the recurrence of mine-explosive warning signs looming up in the headlights that alerted us to our predicament.

I'm unsure what percentage of the What3Words userbase employ the app solely to document the precise locations of their anecdotal misadventures, but I'm willing to bet it isn't high. Perhaps only slightly higher is the percentage of users employing the app for its intended purpose - sharing locations more precisely than the pin can drop on rival, road-based mapping software.
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