(KSWB) — Whether it’s picking a meetup location for a hike, choosing a campground from miles away or finding help if you stranded off the beaten path, California State Parks has announced a new tool that’s as simple as three words.

New innovative location technology — known as what3words — will now be used throughout the state parks system. This revolutionary technology pinpoints exact locations through the app, giving users the ability to communicate precisely where they are or intend to be.

The main objective of this tool, according to California State Parks, is to keep parkgoers safe. The technology provides dispatchers with three dictionary words that represent an exact location. This is then used to quickly help lost or stranded visitors find their way. In some instances, it may improve response times in situations where emergency services are needed.

How does it work?

Through what3words technology, the entire world has been divided into a grid of 10 feet by 10 feet squares. Each square has been given a unique combination of three words, otherwise known as a what3words address.

This means that every hiking trail, every remote camping site, and even every single park bench has its own three-word locator. All you have to do is download the what3words app on either an iOS or Android device.

Or you can rely on the California State Parks app, OuterSpatial, which officials say will now display what3words addresses in the system. OuterSpatial is partnering with what3words to offer more ways to use the three-word addresses, with updates set to be be released later this year.

To find a specific what3words address, all you have to do is open the app, tap the search bar, enter an address or general location, select your correct search item, then switch to satellite mode in the lower left corner and zoom in until you see the squared grid. From there, tap the exact square you want to reference and the what3words address will display at the top.

In the event that you need to share your location in an emergency or if you are stranded, all you do is open the app and tap the share button to send your what3words address to anyone via text message.

For example, let’s say you were hiking your way up to Lost Horse Mine, a historic gold and silver mine in Joshua Tree National Park that’s exposed to all the elements of the high desert. You’re almost there, but suddenly you trip on a boulder and sprain your ankle.

Now’s the time to share your three-word locator with someone to help California State Parks pinpoint exactly where you are to send help as quickly as possible. Check out the grid near Lost Horse Mine in the slideshow below.

  • Lost Horse Mine

Without phone signal, the app functions the same as when you have no data connection, according to what3words.

“Being able to locate a caller during an emergency is essential and the faster the location is confirmed, the faster help can be dispatched,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “What3words enables callers and dispatchers to communicate precise locations with just three words and quickly get the help they need.”

More information on how to use what3words can be found here.

Recreational use

This location technology can also be used for non-emergencies, like giving friends and family directions to a specific campsite or sharing beautiful viewpoints.

For example, let’s say you found the perfect overnight spot for camping at Borrego State Park and your friends want to join in on the adventure. Instead of trying explain the terrain and area, your location can be precisely communicated by sending the what3words address.

A camper is seen posted up in a section of Borrego State Park.
A camper is seen posted up in a section of Borrego State Park. The what3words address is shown for that exact spot. (Photo released by California State Parks)

Navigating through the vast parks of California can now be more simple and stress free, allowing visitors to make the best use of their time and enjoy the experience to the fullest, California State Parks explained.