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emergency services and what3words


Jim Riley

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On 02/06/2021 at 13:43, Richard10002 said:

 

So it looks like it's horses for courses. I'll repeat that the addition of W3W to the arsenal of emergency services location options can only be a good thing.

 

This is the crux of it.

 

As someone on the pointy end of receiving 999 calls we use whatever we can to narrow down the area we're tasked to.

 

I'm a Coastguard, so the majority of our call outs are rural, middle of nowhere locations. We get tasked by our ops room via SMS and email, which contains a summary of the location we're being tasked to. If the caller has provided the w3w location then that is included in the tasking, but the ops room will have almost certainly already converted it to a 6 figure grid for us anyway. I don't know anyone in our team who uses the w3w reference to respond to the call, we all work off the grid reference. Or sometimes we'll go off the vague description provided (eg cas located about 200m east of cafe XYZ would work for us).

We're all given free access to 1:25000 OS mapping on our phones to help.

 

A few years ago before GPS on phones became a thing we went around the entire coast path sticking OS grid reference marking plates on all the finger posts so that if we had a call and the caller wasn't sure where they were we could direct them to look for a post and read the grid off it.

 

Basically anything that helps locate the cas is used, but the Coastguard does rely a lot on local knowledge of the teams.

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8 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

 

However W3W does require a full voice standard signal to ge able to tell the operator their W3W location, so another reason to use AML.

 

 Can you ring emergency services with no signal?

Answer. Answer: Emergency calls can be made on any mobile phone network, not just your own. If you are somewhere where your network doesn't have reception but another does, you get Emergency Calls Only. If no networks have any signal, you'll be told there is no reception and you can't even make 999 calls.
 
 

 

In which case you can give the what3words information to the operator.

Edited by ditchcrawler
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22 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

In which case you can give the what3words information to the operator.

 

But why would you ?

You go onto the app, find yourself, then call 999, remember the 3 words, hope you are pronouncing them correctly, (remembering 'was it tractor or tractors ?) all whilst lying with a broken arm / leg / concussion/ etc etc. or you are under stress nursing someone.

 

Alternatively : dial 999, do nothing and let the phone tell the operator where you are.

 

What 3 Words have 37 sets of 3 words for every 3mt square in the world as they have made it usable with 37 languages.

 

You chose your language so wherever you are in the world you can still find the 3 words that are familiar to you, however, are those 3 words in English going to be understood by a (say) Polish telehone operator ?

 

On the other side , a Latvian hires a Nb, and has a heart attack - his partner changes the W3W to English and calls 999. The Latvian does his / her best with the pronunciation but due to how critical it is to pronounce or spell the word EXACTLY how well will our 999 operator understand his / her English.

 

Despite what some think, I am not against any system, I just do not see the point of making something that is so simple (numbers for example are the same all over the world) and we already have a couple of numerical systems, to add another layer**  into the situation seems to just complicate things.

 

** We have already had a couple examples of actual emergency situations where the control room have converted W3Wback to the lat/long (numerical) system

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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20 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I just do not see the point of making something that is so simple (numbers for example are the same all over the world)

Point of order M'Lud.   You have put great stress on the problems of pronunciation.  You still would have the problem of either pronunciation or language difference with numbers as they still have to be spoken.

 

I have had problems with numbers spoken in call centres some even staffed by Brits.

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9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

But why would you ?

You go onto the app, find yourself, then call 999, remember the 3 words, hope you are pronouncing them correctly, (remembering 'was it tractor or tractors ?) all whilst lying with a broken arm / leg / concussion/ etc etc. or you are under stress nursing someone.

 

Alternatively : dial 999, do nothing and let the phone tell the operator where you are.

 

What 3 Words have 37 sets of 3 words for every 3mt square in the world as they have made it usable with 37 languages.

 

You chose your language so wherever you are in the world you can still find the 3 words that are familiar to you, however, are those 3 words in English going to be understood by a (say) Polish telehone operator ?

 

On the other side , a Latvian hires a Nb, and has a heart attack - his partner changes the W3W to English and calls 999. The Latvian does his / her best with the pronunciation but due to how critical it is to pronounce or spell the word EXACTLY how well will our 999 operator understand his / her English.

 

Despite what some think, I am not against any system, I just do not see the point of making something that is so simple (numbers for example are the same all over the world) and we already have a couple of numerical systems, to add another layer**  into the situation seems to just complicate things.

 

** We have already had a couple examples of actual emergency situations where the control room have converted W3Wback to the lat/long (numerical) system

You keep talking about this numerical system but, by your own words, it's all irrelevant these days - either a PLB tells the services where you are, or your phone does it.

 

So, in Alan's world, (de Enfield), you either carry a plb, or a mobile, (and hope to have a signal when you get into trouble), and that's it.

 

As a matter of interest, if it ends up with voice communicating the position, it's just as easy for your hypothetical Latvian who doesn't speak very good English to struggle with the numbers as it is with words. In fact remembering a couple of streams of numbers to provide a set of coordinates is not the easiest thing in the world, and I think I would prefer to be listening to someone trying to get three words across to me, than a two strings of numbers.

 

We have heard from one operator who values any means of getting the cas location, and the fact that they may then convert it to numerics is irrelevant.

 

In your world, I would hope that my wife was not someone whose call did not generate an ALM position for the services, (35% of calls according to your information), if she was in trouble.

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What is wrong with just using the 'share' option?

 

I cant be bothered to trawl through the thread to see if this has been mentioned.

 

No need to pronounce anything.

 

The share option gives various means to share your location including text.

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1 minute ago, Jerra said:

You still would have the problem of either pronunciation or language difference with numbers as they still have to be spoken.

 

Yes you would, which is why I'd prefer to promote the AML system which automatically sends an SMS with your lat / long as soon as you dial 999.. No action from the casualty, no chance of 'manual' mistakes.

If you are regularly hiking, climbing, or boating in areas that are known to have signal problems then use a PLB

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Yes you would, which is why I'd prefer to promote the AML system which automatically sends an SMS with your lat / long as soon as you dial 999.. No action from the casualty, no chance of 'manual' mistakes....

 

In only 65% of calls???

 

4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

If you are regularly hiking, climbing, or boating in areas that are known to have signal problems then use a PLB

 

Cant argue with that.

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3 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

But why would you ?

You go onto the app, find yourself, then call 999, remember the 3 words, hope you are pronouncing them correctly, (remembering 'was it tractor or tractors ?) all whilst lying with a broken arm / leg / concussion/ etc etc. or you are under stress nursing someone.

 

Alternatively : dial 999, do nothing and let the phone tell the operator where you are.

 

What 3 Words have 37 sets of 3 words for every 3mt square in the world as they have made it usable with 37 languages.

 

You chose your language so wherever you are in the world you can still find the 3 words that are familiar to you, however, are those 3 words in English going to be understood by a (say) Polish telehone operator ?

 

On the other side , a Latvian hires a Nb, and has a heart attack - his partner changes the W3W to English and calls 999. The Latvian does his / her best with the pronunciation but due to how critical it is to pronounce or spell the word EXACTLY how well will our 999 operator understand his / her English.

 

Despite what some think, I am not against any system, I just do not see the point of making something that is so simple (numbers for example are the same all over the world) and we already have a couple of numerical systems, to add another layer**  into the situation seems to just complicate things.

 

** We have already had a couple examples of actual emergency situations where the control room have converted W3Wback to the lat/long (numerical) system

 

As you have been told numerous times, not all phones have that facility! I know mine doesn't.
The rest of your post is another example of your anti W3W rubbish.

And I suggest your read Gatekrash's post again. He doesn't say they convert it to lat/long but to an OS 6 figure map reference.

Edited by Graham Davis
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1 hour ago, Graham Davis said:

 

As you have been told numerous times, not all phones have that facility! I know mine doesn't.
The rest of your post is another example of your anti W3W rubbish.

And I suggest your read Gatekrash's post again. He doesn't say they convert it to lat/long but to an OS 6 figure map reference.

 

In reality, it doesn't really matter what the emergency services do with the W3W info, or any other info.... It is actually irrelevant as this is merely the vehicle for getting the position from casualty to emergency service.

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On 08/06/2021 at 01:16, Richard10002 said:

 

Maybe you can help to clear something up for me/us:

 

In a few of these posts some people have said that the emergency services get a position from a mobile phone, (with the facility). Is that actually the case and, if so, there may not be as many cases where W3W or similar actually improve things? - or is the automatic position provision a myth?

Hi, yes we get a position from a mobile phone. However this come up as an ellipse area on our mapping. This area can be very big (miles) as it depends how many mast the phone can see and therefore the triangulation can be no use compared to w3w. Does that make sense?

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The other issue is that police and ambulance services (as they are both the busiest with around 18000 calls per day each nationally) use prioritisation, therefore text only will not get a high priority (it may get a second or third priority but not top) fire take about 2500 calls per day nationally and coastguard 50 (from the 999 system, they also get radio calls) and I believe these services don’t prioritise but am not sure.

 

I do think w3w is a good idea but as with all things use what ever works best for you. The vast majority of ambulance 999 calls are located from CLI and postcode data

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2 hours ago, andy4502 said:

Hi, yes we get a position from a mobile phone. However this come up as an ellipse area on our mapping. This area can be very big (miles) as it depends how many mast the phone can see and therefore the triangulation can be no use compared to w3w. Does that make sense?

 

We are talking at crossed purposes.

You are talking about triangulation from phone masts, the 'new' system with which phones, (by law), have had to be fitted with (since 2020).

This is the AML system which uses satellites / GPS, NOT triangulation., and is 4000 times more accurate than triangulation.

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

We are talking at crossed purposes.

You are talking about triangulation from phone masts, the 'new' system with which phones, (by law), have had to be fitted with (since 2020).

This is the AML system which uses satellites / GPS, NOT triangulation., and is 4000 times more accurate than triangulation.

and, according to the info that YOU provided, in 35% of cases, an AML position is not provided.

 

You seem to be very silent on that??

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8 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

and, according to the info that YOU provided, in 35% of cases, an AML position is not provided.

 

You seem to be very silent on that??

 

I am waiting for you to provide the percentage of 999 calls that provide W3W.

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I am waiting for you to provide the percentage of 999 calls that provide W3W.

Very clever but, No you're not... thats a cop out Alan, (de Enfield). 

 

I don't need to provide you with anything.

 

If one life is saved because a casualty was able to provide their position because they had W3W, that is enough justification for its existence in the emergency services arena.

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33 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

Very clever but, No you're not... thats a cop out Alan, (de Enfield). 

 

I don't need to provide you with anything.

 

If one life is saved because a casualty was able to provide their position because they had W3W, that is enough justification for its existence in the emergency services arena.

 

You talk of a cop out - just find out the percentage of 999 calls using W3W (clue - it is considerably below 65%)

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

You talk of a cop out - just find out the percentage of 999 calls using W3W (clue - it is considerably below 65%)

 

 

I'm neither arguing with what you say, nor denying it.

 

In the context of the discussion, it is irrelevant.

 

Like I said.... if "only one" person is saved by W3W it proves its worth. You don't seem to be able to compute that, do you!?

 

In your world, there would be only PLBs and AML.... 35% of calls would not provide a position. People would die.... you don't seem to care.

 

The emergency services don't care how they get a position, they are delighted to get one.

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Hi all, while my control experience is a couple of years out of date I am still working for the service (part time on the road) and can see that the Control computer assigns w3w to all calls as part of location finding.

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45 minutes ago, andy4502 said:

Hi all, while my control experience is a couple of years out of date I am still working for the service (part time on the road) and can see that the Control computer assigns w3w to all calls as part of location finding.

What is the benefit of doing that, other than as background to a call with the customer? The three words do not tell you anything other than a means of discovering the digital position (either lat lng or grid reference) in order to identify a position on a map and thence on the ground. 

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1 minute ago, Mike Todd said:

What is the benefit of doing that, other than as background to a call with the customer? The three words do not tell you anything other than a means of discovering the digital position (either lat lng or grid reference) in order to identify a position on a map and thence on the ground. 

 

This is why I think all it is doing is adding layers of complication at a time of stress.

 

East Midlands Ambulance service (on a response to SWMBO) told me they used the AML (the GPS location automatically provided by the phone itself) and grid, and if W3W was used it was converted by their control. The ambulance on-board system worked on grid or GPS coordinates.

 

A previous poster who works for the emergency services (coastguard) as control says that they convert any W3W to grid / lat long for the position that the service responds to,

 

As I suggested (100s of posts ago) it maybe ideal for use to arrange to meet your mates in Tesco car park but for the 999 services it just (to me) appears to add complications.

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

This is why I think all it is doing is adding layers of complication at a time of stress.

 

East Midlands Ambulance service (on a response to SWMBO) told me they used the AML (the GPS location automatically provided by the phone itself) and grid, and if W3W was used it was converted by their control. The ambulance on-board system worked on grid or GPS coordinates.

 

A previous poster who works for the emergency services (coastguard) as control says that they convert any W3W to grid / lat long for the position that the service responds to,

 

As I suggested (100s of posts ago) it maybe ideal for use to arrange to meet your mates in Tesco car park but for the 999 services it just (to me) appears to add complications.

Alan, I think all and any tools are useful, that is why control systems have so many different ways of putting a location into their systems, including talking to you, working out where you are and plotting it on the cad map. Whatever location is found is sent to the vehicle responding in the internal format of the organisation. Often it’s about getting a rough location to start with then firming it up as we are on route 

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Just now, andy4502 said:

Alan, I think all and any tools are useful, that is why control systems have so many different ways of putting a location into their systems, including talking to you, working out where you are and plotting it on the cad map. Whatever location is found is sent to the vehicle responding in the internal format of the organisation. Often it’s about getting a rough location to start with then firming it up as we are on route 

 

As you are 'on the road' maybe you can answer.

The EM Ambulance driver told me that their onboard system was basically only able to work on map / GPS references (not W3W) and that is why they could respond so quickly and get to within a few yards (the other side of a hedge down a single track lane).

 

Is that correct, or can the Ambulance driver feed W3W into his 'satnav' ?

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4 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

 

As I suggested (100s of posts ago) it maybe ideal for use to arrange to meet your mates in Tesco car park but for the 999 services it just (to me) appears to add complications.

Try telling them that you are about 3 miles from bridge 44 on the Ashby canal and see how long it takes to find you.

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