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

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. He made the call during a speech in Vancouver on April 10, 2021, in a rally for a parent embroiled in legal battles surrounding his child’s transition.
Chilliwack school trustee calls for B.C.’s minister of education to resign

Barry Neufeld spoke at rally for jailed father in Vancouver, calling SOGI 123 a ‘dangerous experiment’

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

The old seniors centre is adjacent to Mission Leisure Centre, which will compliment programs, amenities, parking, and security for the youth centre. Google Maps image.
Mission’s old seniors centre to be turned into youth centre

Council approves renovation costs of $105,000; youth lounge budget increase of $66,000

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Most Read