Founder of OpenStreetMap joins what3words

By on 30 March, 2016


Steve Coast, the founder of OpenStreetMap, has joined the team behind the revolutionary addressing system, what3words, as the new Chief Evangelist. The appointment of Coast capitalizes on what3words’ expansion in the North American market.

As Chief Evangelist, Coast will help to strengthen existing relationships and explore new routes for partnerships in North America as what3words continues to grow its presence in the region. what3words is already being used by the likes of Tensing, Metcom911, BlueLight and Interra to keep skiers safe, coordinate emergency response units and manage public safety at the Super Bowl.

Based in Colorado, Steve Coast has long been a respected figure of the geospatial community, having founded the OpenStreetMap project in 2004 to encourage the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data. This is clearly aligned with the objectives of what3words who aim to solve the global issue of poor addressing and Coast brings a wealth of industry experience to what3words as they continue to grow.

“Addresses are the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to realising the promises of the advances made in mapping and navigation,” explains Coast. “what3words has huge momentum and offers the only real solution to this global challenge.”

“It’s a really clever system to overcome the many communication, standardisation and accuracy challenges that have stifled global addressing initiatives in the past.

The beauty of what3words is that any mapping interface can reap the benefits.”


what3words can be added to customised maps to provide coordinates for specific points within the single address.


what3words is a location reference platform based on a global grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares, where each square has a unique pre-assigned 3 word address. The solution helps everyone who needs to share or find a location, whether they are a tourist, a logistics company or a navigation system. It is currently being used in over 170 countries by logistics firms, navigation apps, travel guides and NGOs.

The addressing functionality is also being supported by geospatial platforms, including the world’s leading global geographic information software company Esri, along with, Safe Software, FME, Boundless and QGIS.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words says that Coast is part of a larger mapping movement: “Steve got people to believe that there was an entirely new way to map the world – with OpenStreetMap he started a global movement,” he said.

“We are on a mission to change the way the world communicates location, making the world a more efficient, less frustrating and a safer place with 3 word addresses.

Steve is a key part of making that happen.”


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