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Identify n-D

Battelle Number(s): 31437, 31307, 31479, 31491, 31494, 31548, 31644
Clearance Number: PNNL-SA-149912
Patent(s) Pending
Available for licensing in all fields
  • A powerful spatial-identification tool developed by researchers at PNNL enables you to locate anything, anytime, anywhere, by creating unique identifiers for each asset you want to track, such as parcels, buildings, floors, critical infrastructure, or property.

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The number of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices is exploding as cities, homes, and businesses increasingly create and track large amounts of spatial-related data. But this brave new world could be held back by a fundamental problem: spatial and temporal identification. For the data generated to connect, the devices must be able to identify the location of a particular space and its extent, sometimes down to the room or even sensor.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Identify n-D is the only technology of its kind to represent the location and extent of a physical space anywhere on the Earth’s surface at a moment in time with a simple code string (a geocode). The powerful, spatial-identification tool enables you to locate anything—anytime, anywhere—by creating unique identifiers for each asset you want to track, such as parcels, buildings, floors, critical infrastructure, or property. The software platform leaps well beyond a two-dimensional view, calculating the volumetric center of mass and providing temporal information for each asset. Identify n-D uses a new generalized grid-reference system developed for use in n-dimensions. This new system enables users to identify and describe things, such as building volumes, floors of buildings, individual suites, rooftop assets, and subterranean structures. It is simple to use and doesn’t require advanced computing.

The software can compare and determine the geospatial and temporal relationship between two Identify n-D strings in less than a millisecond. This power allows Identify n-D to quickly collect, integrate, and cross-reference data sources for a variety of heuristics using low computational resources. For example, a 10+ million cross-reference operation can be completed in under 5 minutes on a laptop computer.


Identify n-D is the crucial missing link that ties all space-related data streams together. It provides real-time analytics for decision making that can be leveraged by any market segment and ushers in the future of smart cities and communities. Specific markets that would benefit include the following: 

  • building and energy management
  • commercial real estate
  • first response
  • insurance and disaster relief
  • geographic information systems
  • loT and asset tracking
  • mapping and location.

Identify n-D can also track temporal changes, such as impacts from a natural disaster and movement of existing assets.


  • Can locate and communicate with 100% accuracy building boundaries and land parcels; floors, rooms, and physical infrastructure, such as devices, elevators, restrooms, and HVAC equipment; and valuable property or assets within space and time
  • Can identify any virtual space, without physical boundaries
  • Can cross-reference two data records in less than a millisecond with nearly double the accuracy of other approaches

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