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Walking and Technology

Nowadays, most of us have a “smartphone” and at least one “app” that allegedly tells us the distance we have walked. Why all the different apps can’t agree on this distance is beyond me and the scope of this article. Here, I want to introduce you to some useful apps that you may not be aware of.

/// what3words

what3words is the easiest way to talk about any precise location in the world. Every 3m square has been given a unique combination of three words. 

The pictures above are ones I took on recent walks with the three words attached. Those of you who were on the walks will know where they were taken. Just pop the three words, including the fullstops, into the app and you will see for sure.

what3words is more precise than a street address, and easier to remember, use and say than GPS coordinates, grid references or latitude and longitude and is a really simple way to talk about a location. For example ///tortoises.zones.probable marks the entrance to the Scout Hut Car Park in Fleckney..

You can find a 3 word address using the free what3words app or online map at It works offline and is available in 37 languages

3 word addresses are easy to say and share, and are as accurate as GPS coordinates.

51.520847,  -0.19552100 ←→ /// filled.count.soap

The developer’s vision is for what3words to become a global standard for communicating location. People can use what3words to find their tents at festivals, navigate to B&Bs, and to direct emergency services to the right place.

Discover the what3words app

Open Canal Map

Walking around Fleckney, canals and rivers play a prominent role in our walks. While I was writing the text for Deb’s walk from Marston Trussell, I searched the internet for something to tell me about canal bridge names and numbers. What I found was the Open Canal Map.

I am quite impressed with this app as not only does it show bridge names and numbers, it displays them as what3words locations as well.

Unfortunately, the app doesn’t seem to have been updated recently and some folk criticise the accuracy of some of the data. But, as you can see from the image above, the data for Foxton Locks is certainly correct.

There is hope on the horizon though as a similar and much more functional app is being developed by the UK Waterways Guide.