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.