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

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
Paramedics rescue unusual patient after Oak Bay hit-and-run

A female duck was rescued while a male one was deceased on scene

Craigdarroch Care Home has put in place enhanced control measures after Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak. (Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at second Victoria long-term care home

Two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at Craigdarroch Care Home

The government map (as of April 22) showing vaccine availability doesn’t have any Saanich Peninsula pharmacies listed, but the situation is fluid, and many readers have already registered. (Province of B.C. screenshot)
Vaccine availability a fluid situation for Saanich Peninsula

Government site may not show pharmacies, but registering still an option

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

As the snow in Manning Park melts, searchers are able to get a little farther each day. Photo submitted
Family resumes search for son missing in B.C.’s Manning park since October

‘This is our child, and we don’t give up on our children,’ said mother of Jordan, Josie Naterer

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Most Read