Route Mapping With what3words For Ultra X Mexico

Written By Jamie Sparks

Jamie is one of the Ultra X Co-Founders. He enjoys rambling on about a variety of topics; motorbikes, cycling, adventure, and, of course, ultra running.

25 May 2019

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We at Ultra X pride ourselves on doing things differently. Making multi-stage ultras more accessible to the masses is one thing but to be gamechangers we know that we have got to constantly innovate, look at ways we can improve and incorporate the latest thinking into our events. Anything which makes our lives easier and more efficient as organizers means a better service at a more affordable price for the runners. This is why we have teamed up with what3words to help with our route mapping in Mexico.

Ultra X Mexico is based in the remote Copper Canyons of Chihuahua. The route cannot be passed easily by vehicle so it’s often either donkey or your own two feet if you want to get somewhere! Checkpoints have been strategically positioned so that vehicles loaded up with gazebos, massage tables and a tonne of water can at least get close to the route, before our crew will lug the necessary items onto the course. However, getting to them is not easy, particularly when the communications in the area can be difficult.

Each checkpoint and campsite on the course has been assigned a three letter word. For example, Checkpoint 4 on Day 2 is forceful.spray.entryways, and the finish line of the epic long day is mugged.flatness.prepped. Getting to this one will be a little special!

Words are not only easier to remember but are less prone to error when communicating. In addition, there is automatic error detection built in, as the three word addresses are intentionally randomised and unrelated to the squares around them. To avoid confusion, similar sounding addresses are also placed as far from each other as possible. The software accounts for spelling errors and other typing mistakes.

We’ve loved trying out this new tech and are excited to be trialling it for the first time in Mexico this November.

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