Image for post
Image for post
Somewhere at the Murtala Mohammed Airport

Street addresses are not specific or consistent enough for modern use, so in recent times multiple digital address projects have spun up to close the gap.

Postcode-based systems like GhanaPostGPS improve on existing postal codes by appending a unique string generated using geolocation data. More often than not, these are government-backed projects, a natural evolution of the humble postcode. Nigeria has one such system, named NIPOST DAS.

Image for post
Image for post

Nigeria’s Digital Addressing System has a landing page with a short introduction and a marketing site for an Address Verification Service but otherwise, there’s not much about it on the internet. There’s also the Address by NIPOST Android app. I’m yet to test it, but the reviews don’t look positive.

Grid-based systems on the other hand e.g. what3words (UK), SnooCODE (Ghana) and GridCodes (Nigeria) use geolocation to divide the globe into a grid of squares. They then assign an address to each square using unique character or word concatenations.

what3words is the best one I’ve seen so far. They use regular words for the addresses which makes it much easier to remember. They’re also the most advanced with really useful tricks like offline navigation and the ability to translate the words into different languages (yo!).

Offline navigation with what3words

Today, these digital address systems are largely used by enthusiasts and emergency services and it may take a while before they become the norm in everyday use, but i.cannot.wait.

Written by

Real crowd pleaser

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store