Sint Maarten adopts what3words as postal addressing system

Third country commits to use 3 word addresses for national infrastructure.

what3words, the multi-award winning addressing system, has been adopted as an addressing standard by Postal Services Sint Maarten (PSSNV). Sint Maarten is the first country in the region - and third in the world - to adopt 3 word addresses to improve its national infrastructure.

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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. Many places on the island do not have a formal or official address, especially as the country’s fast development continues apace. The postal service strives to service the entire country but persistently experiences high rates of failed deliveries. In many cases, the renumbering of houses over past decades has left single homes with multiple addresses and different homes with the same address, while others simply have none.

By using what3words, every location in the country instantly has an 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 who want reliable delivery to a precise and simple address, 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.

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Every citizen now has an 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, while postal workers will use a 3 word address to navigate directly to a 3m x 3m square to find a customer’s front door.

PSSNV is proud to announce our partnership with what3words. With what3words, PSSNV can instantly provide universal access to the postal service. This will make us more efficient and reduce customer frustrations.

Antonia Wilson, Director of Operation and Commerce for Postal Services Sint Maarten.

Available in fourteen 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. Sint Maarten has become a global innovator, leapfrogging the hundreds of other nations that still rely on inaccurate, inconsistent or complex addressing systems.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words
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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.

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“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.

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About what3words

what3words is a global grid of 3mx3m squares where each square has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique 3 word address.

75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems. 

This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.

It means that in remote locations water facilities can’t be found, monitored and fixed; and schools, refugee camps and informal settlements remain unaddressed. Even in countries with advanced systems, people get lost, packages aren’t delivered and businesses aren’t found.

Poor addressing is costly & annoying in developed countries, but limits growth and threatens lives in developing ones.

Our API is being integrated into businesses, apps & services. It works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition.

What3words means everyone and everywhere now has an address.