UNL is a cell-based geographical infrastructure, built upon a modern, human-readable alternative to traditional latitude, longitude point-coordinates. (See UNL Cells Explained, below) We aim to make locations as intrinsic a part of our digital infrastructure as they are to the rest of our lives.
UNL cells represent real-world, physical spaces that range in size from millimetres to kilometres.
Unlike the 2 dimensional (lat,lon) coordinates, UNL cells form a grid, with a tree-like, parent-child relationship between different sizes of grid. With each cell containing more smaller cells. This gives us a unique ID for each and every grid, at all scales.
These cells are programmatically generated across the earth's surface, they are not controlled by a centralised postal system, and they have global coverage. Each of them can reference public & private data in any format, including
sales & payment endpoints, and much more. This cell contains an image:
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One benefit, is the human & machine readability of cells. We can encode each of our millions of cells into many different GeoIDs e.g. as words, QR codes, colour hex-keys, etc.
Also, because of the tree-like nature of the cells, calculating their direct neighbours becomes simple, along with finding their bounding-box coordinates, or centre-points. Plus, conversions between cells and
lat, long coordinates, or other geo-encodings are easy!
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Connecting to the UNL network
The UNL web services APIs allow you to programmatically access UNL tools and services. You can use these APIs to retrieve information about locations, find a last-mile route, and use other UNL tools. See Authentication & Access for authentication information.