Mongolia's Post Office to Use Pioneering Three-Word Addresses to Deliver Mail

Mongolia's postal service will soon begin delivering mail to locations assigned three-word phrases instead of the traditional number and street name.

ByAlyssa Newcomb
June 15, 2016, 12:43 PM
PHOTO: View of the city of Ulgii (Ã?lgii) from the monument to the 75th anniversary of the Bayan-Ulgii Province in western Mongolia.
View of the city of Ulgii (Ã?lgii) from the monument to the 75th anniversary of the Bayan-Ulgii Province in western Mongolia.
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

— -- Mongolia's post office is pioneering a new approach to delivering the mail.

The country's 3 million citizens, some of whom are nomadic, will soon be receiving mail based on a system developed by British start-up What3Words. The company's system assigns a unique three-word designation to every 9-square-meter area on the globe.

In Mongolia, a sparsely populated country as large as the entire European Union, many citizens have to make the trek miles away to their nearest post office to collect their mail, according to a statement on the Mongol Post Office website. Others can't receive mail at all. Deliveries can also be a challenge for people without an address who instead have to specify landmarks and hope a driver will find them.

Customers can use the free What3Words app to find their new address and can then write it on an envelope or enter it on the checkout page for online transactions. The postal service will then use those three words to deliver the parcel to the 3-by-3 meter area they correspond with on the map.

Chris Sheldrick, co-founder of What3Words, told ABC News in April there are 57 trillion squares on the globe -- each with a unique name utilizing the What3Words system.

"I wanted to get the squares as small as possible because I wanted to get everything ultra-precise. It would have been pointless for us to get 1 or 2 meter squares," he said. "It was a balance."

Along with areas where many people don't have addresses, Sheldrick said he believes the system could help logistics companies -- and could even be employed with future drone deliveries.

"Imagine if have drone delivery -- people will have to specify front garden or back garden," he said.

Want to find out what your three words are? Find out here.

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