Location Identification – GS1 Global Location Number

Global Location Numbers (GLNs) offer an internationally-recognised standard solution for the identification of physical locations and parties.

Once assigned at the source - generally by the party owning the location - a GLN becomes a unique and universal reference which can be used by all trading partners. It is a non-significant 13-digit number and is simply used to identify:

  • Physical Location - A site (an area, a structure or group of structures) or an area within where something was, is, or will be located.
  • Party - Any legal entity or organisation (including regulatory or other public bodies), business function, group, or individual actor, a participant in one or more business processes.

Note: A party may have an address associated with it, whereas a physical location always has a geographical address.

The format of a GLN is structured in the same way as the GTIN-13 numbering structure:

GS1 Company Prefix >                    < Location Reference














GLNs can be used in EDI transactions to identify the sender and recipient of an electronic transmission, as well as any other party involved in the transaction. They also can be used in a barcode format to identify a physical location or to encode the identification of relevant parties in logistic applications, such as a 'ship-to' number.

For further information on GLN Allocation Rules, please click here

Although a GLN does not carry any information on the location it identifies, details associated with a GLN, such as:

  • name and address
  • location type
  • contact person
  • communications numbers
  • banking information
  • delivery condition, etc

can be stored in the computer files of system-users for later retrieval.

GLN and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

In an EDI Message, there is a need to identify both sender and receiver and a GLN is ideal for this purpose. At the beginning of a commercial relationship when using EDI, trading partners would advise each other of their GLNs. The information could subsequently be used to associate GLNs with location information and related operational, administrative, commercial and financial data of the trading partner.

These details would be stored in each party's computer system, in readiness for exchanging EDI messages.

Note: EDI is computer-to-computer data exchange and helps in the electronic creation and maintenance of commercial documents used in the procurement of goods and services.