Introduction

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

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 images, videos, routing data, sales & payment endpoints, and much more. This cell contains an image:

[
{
"id": "65060",
"geohash": "u173zy4kw1my",
"description": "unl",
"ownerType": "User",
"lastModifiedDate": "2020-08-19T19:36:12.9769538",
"attachments": [
{
"id": 146,
"name": "poorly drawn lines",
"mimeType": "image/png",
"resourceUrl": "https://i.imgur.com/arYReWs.png"
}
]
}
]

try it out @ https://map.unl.global/api/v1/cell-metadata/geohash/u173zy4kw1my


Why Cells?

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!

"geohash": "gc7x9813h",
"words": "IE8.tunics.appraises",
"bounds": {
"sw": {
"lat": 53.34978103637695,
"lon": -6.260318756103516
},
"ne": {
"lat": 53.34982395172119,
"lon": -6.260275840759277
}
}

try it out @ https://map.unl.global/api/v1/coordinates/53.349804,-6.260310

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.