Mounties are now using What3Words digital location to help people pinpoint their whereabouts when lost or injured. The app tells you a three-word label for every 10-foot square on the planet. (What3Words)

Mounties are now using What3Words digital location to help people pinpoint their whereabouts when lost or injured. The app tells you a three-word label for every 10-foot square on the planet. (What3Words)

RCMP now using app to track people lost, injured in B.C.’s backcountry

‘All they have to do is click a link and we’ll be able to pinpoint where they are,’ says RCMP

Three words are all it takes for RCMP to nail down the location of a lost and injured hiker or skier – thanks to a phone app that syncs their GPS coordinates.

Those stranded in the B.C. backcountry do not need to have the app downloaded to reap its life-saving benefits. All they have to do is call 911.

What3Words – first created in the U.K. in July 2013 – does the rest.

“All you have to do is click the link to provide the information to our 911 dispatcher,” explained RCMP Sgt. Peter DeVries in a March 9 news release.

The app pinpoints the person’s phone location to a three-meter range.

What3Words, “divided the earth up into a gridwork of three-meter squares, each assigned a random sequence of three words. Those three words label the square in which a person is standing,” Devries said.

READ MORE: B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

This month, North Vancouver RCMP used the app’s algorithm to find hikers stranded in the North Shore mountains.

Officers forwarded app coordinates to search and rescue crews who were able to quickly reach the group and provide help, said DeVries.

Other first responders in B.C that have reported using the app include Surrey Regional Fire Dispatch and Squamish Search And Rescue.

Whether it’s a lost child with a cell phone, someone on a sinking boat up Indian Arm or a person stifled by witnessing a crime, Devries said, “all they have to do is click a link and we’ll be able to pinpoint where they are.”

What3Words has been credited to saving the lives of outdoor enthusiasts in countries including the United States, Australia and Scotland.

The app’s functions are dependant upon a person’s mobile phone having access to cell service.

RELATED: Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive, says SAR



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

RCMPSearch and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Arson suspect arrested after apartment fire in Nanaimo

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Small wildfire burning in difficult terrain near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating, but confirms blaze is human-caused

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Most Read