What3Words API in Laravel: Integrating geolocation finder in your web app

What3words is an interesting alternative to sharing around long latitude/longitude numbers, instead share just a few words!

The first step to integrating the api is signing up for a free API key. Then require the library using composer – in the main project folder run:

composer require what3words/w3w-php-wrapper

The library should install. You may need to install mbstring or other libraries if you get an error – for example:

sudo apt install php*mbstring

Then run the composer require command again as shown above.

Now with this installed, we can add a call to look up coordinates by the three word address, as explained in their php documentation. First a route should be created in routes/api.php for an external /api url to call:

Route::get('/mylookup/v1', 'What3WordsController@lookup');

A controller class will output the result, and can be started with:

php artisan make:controller What3WordsController

Now you will see a file in Http/Controllers folder, which you can add the “lookup” function referenced above. Add the lookup function:


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;
use What3words\Geocoder\Geocoder; /// ADDED for this file to reference What3words

class What3WordsController extends Controller
	function lookup(Request $request)
		$api = new Geocoder("YOURAPIKEY");
		$result = $api->convertToCoordinates($request->words);
		return response()->json($result, 200);

Using API in Ajax or Apps

Now run “php artisan serve” if you don’t have this up and running in your browser – Go to “” to look up the example location in the api, you will get a json object back:

What3Words showing the latitude, longitude and other info returned from the what3words api.

Now if you need this in some AJAX application you can look this up within your web app. For example, after including jQuery, you can look up using:

jQuery.get('/api/mylookup/v1/',{words:'filled.count.soap'}, function(info){console.log(info.coordinates.lat); console.log(info.coordinates.lng);}, 'JSON')

for example.

I’ve integrated this feature and the HearHam Live Amateur Radio Repeater Listing now allows searching for nearby repeaters by what3words address – check it out!

Update: The new update of the desktop app Repeater-START now lets you search and go directly to a What3words location in the search bar!

2 Replies to “What3Words API in Laravel: Integrating geolocation finder in your web app”

  1. You should put this in the register method of your AppServiceProvider.php

    $this->app->singleton(Geocoder::class, function() {
    return new Geocoder(env(‘W3W_API_KEY’));

    And that way you can use dependency injection instead of constructing a new object every time you need it in a controller:

    public function __construct(
    public Geocoder $w3w

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