What3Words LogoOn your orienteering map you will see 3 unique words printed that identify the specific location for the FINISH area for all courses. You may refer to this in the event you become lost. The 3 unique words correspond to a location using what3words software. You must have the free what3words app on your phone (Google Play or Apple Store).

For those not familiar with what3words – here is a brief explanation:

The entire world has been segregated into 3m X 3m squares (9.84 ft x 9.84 ft) and each square has been assigned 3 unique words to it. For example: folder.appetites.galloping corresponds to a specific area near Lake Wylie, South Carolina.

If a participant becomes “lost” – they can enter the 3 words printed on their map into their what3words app. The App will help navigate them to the finish location. The app does not require cell service since it works off GPS.

Please ensure to type in the words accurately! For example: if your what3words location is folder.appetites.galloping – this corresponds to the pavilion at McDowell Nature Park. But, if you enter folder.appetite.galloping (omitting the s at the end of appetites) it will guide you to somewhere in Missouri. The easiest verification is to look at the distance from your location to the entered location. if the 3-word location is more than 5 miles away, it is probably not the correct location (due to misspelled words).

  1. Open the app
  2. Enter the 3 words
  3. Click on Navigate
  4. Choose app compass from among the 5 options
  5. Calibrate the app’s compass by walking in a figure 8 pattern
  6. Click Done
  7. The App shows the direction to follow to get to the 3-word location

If an obstacle like a pond, a building, highway, etc. is encountered – you can go either right or left of the obstacle and the compass will adjust and still show the correct direction to the 3-word location.

Orienteering rules are that if a participant uses the what3word App during a competition – they must report that fact at the finish. Their results will be Did Not Finish (DNF). But, hey – at least they won’t be lost!

Remember: if you carry your phone on an orienteering course – please secure it! A lost phone in the middle of the woods ruins your whole day……