It’s time to address the question of addresses

There is a terrace house in London that is undoubtedly the most famous address in the country.  But how is its location best identified? By its road name and number: 10 Downing Street? By its postcode: SW12 2AA?

In years to come the international delivery expert ParcelHero says we should be using the more accurate Plus code: GV3C+8X. Or even three little words: slurs.this.shark

Whether you are addressing a parcel in ten years’ time, or finding a house by Sat Nav, ParcelHero says it it should not be by using outmoded house names and numbers, or even post codes. David Jinks MILT, Head of Consumer Research said, ‘It’s time to end the use of ancient methods of ensuring parcels are delivered or locations found. Street numbers were introduced in Britain in the 1700s. We’ve had 300 years to get the system right; yet even today there are many homes that don’t have a street number in rural areas. Many isolated houses are still identified by their name, just as they would have been several hundred years ago. That’s not a great system for hard-pressed couriers trying to deliver packages.’

Adds David: ‘And if you have ever punched in a post code to a sat nav, you will know it’s a literal post code lottery whether you actually end up at the right destination. Simple postcodes were introduced in London as far back as 1850, and modern postcodes were first phased in sixty years ago – though it took until 1974 to finish the project. And they are equally far from infallible: over 40 addresses can share the same postcode in some areas. And while  Ordnance Survey systems are entirely integrated, not all Satellite Navigation devices and Internet mapping services use Ordnance Survey’s mapping and data. That means many homeowners have grown sick of their packages and letters being continually delivered to the wrong house, and visitors failing to find them.’

David says technologies already exist that will make wrongly delivered mail and Sat Nav odysseys a thing of the past. ‘One obvious solution is using Plus codes. Google has mapped the globe and split it into a system of letter and number codes. The exact location of No. 10, for example, can be pinned down to a short code GV3C+X, Westminster, London; or an area and Plus code: 9C3X GV3C+8X. There’s no need for any more information than that. To identify a Plus code on your mobile, call up Google maps, touch and hold the screen to pin the location, tap the location on the bottom of the screen and then scroll down to find the code. It’s a far more precise locator of places and homes than the outmoded postcode.’

Finally, David says there is a remarkably simple way of locating anywhere in the world using just three words. ‘What 3 Words is a free App that pinpoints a location exactly. Its developers have divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring just 3m by 3m (10ft by 10ft) and each having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address. “slurs.this.shark” will take you straight to Number Ten. How much more easily will it be to remember three-word addresses than house number, road name, town, county and post code? Founder Chris Sheldrick devised this elegant solution because his postcode didn’t point to his house and he grew fed up flagging down couriers. We have three words to say about the App. we.love.it.’