The Netherlands: Caribbean island Sint Maarten Postal Services (PSSNV) has adopted what3words services. Sint Maarten is the first nation in the region – and third country in the world that has adopted 3 word addresses to improve its national infrastructure.
Situated in the heart of the Caribbean with a population of more than 40,000 people, Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As with many of the Caribbean islands, much of Sint Maarten has no official addressing.
As a result the postal service persistently experiences high rates of failed deliveries. The renumbering of houses over past decades has left many homes with multiple addresses, forced different homes to share the same address, or left others with none.
As Sint Maarten continues to develop apace, this patchy system is holding back the growth of ecommerce, tourism, and government services.
By using what3words, every location in the country now has an instant address. what3words provides an easy-to-use, accurate, and fixed address for every 3m x 3m square in the world. Making this address system part of the country’s infrastructure, and integral to PSSNV’s service, will help unlock the region’s economic growth and social development.
As a first step, PSSNV is accepting 3 word addresses from all customers, extending the service to both their commercial partners and private clients. Customers will be able to identify any 3 word address using the free what3words app or website and simply write it on an envelope.
Every citizen now has a reliable address, whether they live on an unmarked road in the centre of the island at overlays.campfire.sometime, are over the bank – a particularly poorly addressed quarter – at inkwell.residing.seabirds, or are moored for the night at music.crunchy.electing. what3words will be integrated across PSSNV’s internal systems, whilst postal workers will use a 3 word address to navigate directly to the 3m x 3m square of a customer’s front door.
“PSSNV is proud to be one of the first countries in the world to adopt this new method of addressing,” commented Antonia Wilson, Director of Operations and Commerce for Postal Services Sint Maarten.
“With what3words, PSSNV can instantly provide universal access to the postal service. This instant solution will immediately make us more efficient and reduce customer frustrations. We’ve already begun training our staff on this new system and will be communicating 3 word addresses to customers across the country through our new website, radio and TV advertising, via leaflets and on all existing mail.”
what3words is already being used in the Caribbean to support disaster relief. It was used to support Haiti’s recovery in the wake of October’s Hurricane Matthew in a project funded by the Roddenberry Foundation.
Following the recovery work in Haiti, disaster response specialists IHS (Infinitum Humanitarian Systems) made what3words their default service for tracking teams and reporting problems back to the UN’s WASH Cluster, a water sanitation task force.
“The entire IHS team converted to what3words while we were deployed. It proved very easy to communicate locations of issues while we were on the move. The team was travelling to support an area out west of Jeremie where about 4,000 people were living in the coastal forest.
There we rebuilt a water system for a destroyed school and medical clinic at ruminant.stronger.regularity, providing both power and the first clean water in the area since Hurricane Matthew levelled the place,” said Eric Rasmussen, CEO of IHS.
Available in thirteen languages, including English, French and Spanish, what3words is used by individuals, delivery companies, navigation tools, governments, logistics firms, travel guides and NGOs. It is more precise than traditional addresses, simpler than descriptions, and easier to communicate and remember than long strings of GPS coordinates. The system has built-in error detection and is available both as a mobile app and API integration. The system works offline without a data connection, ensuring it can be used everywhere.
“We are on a mission to change the way people communicate location,” said Chris Sheldrick, CEO and Co-Founder of what3words. “Sint Maarten has become a global innovator, joining Mongolia and Cote d’Ivoire in leapfrogging the hundreds of other nations that still rely on inaccurate, inconsistent or complex addressing systems. With our partners, from postal systems to ecommerce companies and disaster relief teams, we are making the world a more efficient, less frustrating and safer place.”