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GS1 Architecture

Ensuring the technical integrity of the GS1 system, as well as the consistent and efficient inter-operation of all the various GS1 standards, is of great importance and the GS1 Architecture publications are one of the main tools to help achieve this. A brief overview can be found in the GS1 system architecture flyer.

GS1 Architecture Publications

The GS1 Architecture Principles (Release 4, Jun 2020)
Sets out the architectural principles that underpin the GS1 system. Click this link for the PDF version of the GS1 Architecture Principles (Release 4, Jun 2020)

The GS1 System Architecture (Release 11.1, Mar 2023)
Defines and describes the GS1 system architecture, shows how each part of the system is related and outlines the underlying technical foundations that have guided their design. Click this link for the PDF version of the GS1 System Architecture (Release 11.1, Mar 2023)

Semantic Data Modelling Technical Bulletin (Release 1.0, Jun 2021)
Normatively referenced by the GS1 System Architecture Release 10.0, Section 6.5. GS1 data models can be defined independently of data formats, using Semantic Web/Linked Data standards.

Watch the Architecture videos

Intro to the GS1 Architecture - Gain an understanding of the GS1 Architectural Principles by watching this recorded short recorded webinar.

Learn more about the importance of the GS1 System Architecture in this short video.

A series of short videos to:

Request for finding

The GS1 Architecture Group is available to respond to architectural “requests for finding (RFF)” submitted by members of the GSMP community.

Click here to submit a Request for Findings Form


The following Findings are open as they are relevant to current GSMP discussions or awaiting action:

Support Emerging Use Cases for GS1 Identification Release 1 of 2 - Dec 2022
Support Emerging Use Cases for GS1 Identification Release 2 of 2 - May 2023

This Finding provides a series of recommendations to support expansion of the GS1 identification system’s relevance to new entities, in new application areas and in ways that supports interoperability and efficiency across sectors, regulations, and regions. 

Unique GS1 Identification - Sep 2022

This Finding provides a more complete understanding of the concept of “unique GS1 identification” to support the development and implementation of GS1 identification keys. 

Framework for consistent GTIN allocation - Sep 2021

This Finding sets forth a framework to adapt the GS1 General Specifications, including the GTIN Management Rules, to best extend and optimise the GS1 system in this era of digital transformation. 

Data Carriers and GS1 - Mar 2021

This Finding describes and categorises GS1 and non-GS1 data carriers, describes new data carriers adoption conditions per GS1 Policy B11 and summarises how various non-GS1 data carriers related to the adoption conditions.

The Future Encoding Format of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) - Nov 2020

This Finding addresses the architectural questions around the use of EPC Tag Data Standard "parsing" (restructuring/reformatting/spitting) of GS1 identification keys in the EPC suite of standards.

    Analysis and recommendations, GPC and GDSN - Apr 2020

    This Finding addresses the architectural questions around the use of GPC (Global Product Classification) in the GDSN (Global Data Synchronisation Network) and the potential duplication.

    Use of the term Brand Owner in GS1 ID Key assignment - Dec 2012

    For historic reasons the term ‘brand owner’ has been defined as the ‘The party that is responsible for allocating GS1 System Identification Keys’. With the introduction of new GS1 ID Keys, the term ‘brand owner’ is sometimes misleading and this Finding scopes the issue and makes recommendations to improve.


    The following Findings are archived for historic reference as the recommendations have been acted upon:

    GS1 Id key allocation via third parties - Jan 2018

    This Finding addresses the architectural impact of allocating blocks of GS1 identification keys to third parties who allocate them to end-users. It also recommends the development of a GS1 policy in this area.​

    GTIN Reuse – Jan 2017

    This Finding addresses the question of GTIN reuse and includes the conclusion 'The architectural position is that GTINs should not be reused'.

    Typing within the GS1 System – Mar 2015

    This Finding addresses the question 'how can a subset of relevant objects with specific same characteristics be detected in real-time in case of automated mass detection of a large number of similar objects which are identified with the same GS1 Key?'

      Using external identifiers in the GS1 System – Nov 2014

      The GS1 Transport & Logistics community submitted the Request For Findings on "how to integrate external identifiers for transport equipment (such as BIC codes (containers) and EVNs (rail vehicles)) in the GS1 system?". This Finding provides guidance and recommendations for GSMP groups to address such requests to recognise external identifiers in the GS1 system.

      Attributes associated with multiple GS1 ID Keys – April 2014

      The question raised was can a system that has been programmed to associate attribute data with a particular key, also identify the same attribute data with a different GS1 key and if so what is the impact on existing systems? This Finding scopes the issue and provides the framework for GSMP groups to address such questions.

        GS1 Company Prefix usage and definition in all GS1 Standards -Sept 2015 (Release 1.2)

        The GS1 Company Prefix is a fundamental building block of the GS1 system. There is, however, no formal specification (character set, minimum and maximum lengths, construction, restrictions, etc.). This Finding catalogues the usage in various GS1 system components and provides clear recommendations for improvement and clarity.

          GTIN allocation when not assigned at source - Dec 2012

          Sometimes products are not assigned a GTIN by the brand owner at source and an issue arises where two, or more, importers of these products wish to assign a GTIN prior to commercialisation. This Finding outlines the potential solutions available.

          Compatibility of GS1 EANCOM and GS1 XML for non-transactional messages – Aug 2011

          The compatibility of the two supported message standards, GS1 EANCOM and GS1 XML, particularly with regard to master data synchronisation was questioned. This Finding outlines the recommendations on the use of each in particular with respect to the synchronisation of master data through GDSN and connected data pools.

            Use of GRAI in eCom Trade Messages - June 2011

            During the development of guidelines for Management of Reusable Transport Items (RTIs) with eCom messages, questions were raised on the use of the Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) when ordering Reusable Transport Items. This Finding clarifies that the GTIN is the only GS1 Identification Key recommended.

              GS1 ICOM (Integrated Communication) - Jan 2011

              A description of how types of business data and modes of communication are integrated in the GS1 system.

              Who are members of the GS1 Architecture?

              The GS1 Architecture Group members include representatives from End Users, Solution Providers, GS1 Member Organisations and Global Office. The roles and responsibilities of the GS1 Architecture Group are defined in the GSMP Process Manual. This group reports to the Board Committee for Standards (BCS) within the GSMP framework.

              Who are the GS1 Architecture Liaisons?

              The GS1 Architecture Group designates a liaison for each GSMP work group. The primary role of the GS1 Architecture Liaison is to take an ambassador role with an emphasis on the GS1 Architecture Principles. The GS1 Architecture Liaison list is dynamic and updated regularly as new Mission Specific Work Groups are established and the latest version is always available here.

              Willing to join the GS1 Architecture Group?

              The commitment includes bi-monthly calls of one hour and a half on Wednesday mornings (Eastern US time) and two physical meetings per year at the Global Standards Event. AG members must also dedicate appropriate time to prepare for the meetings and to contribute to the AG work items. If you would like to be considered for AG nomination, read the member qualifications, and committee responsibilities in the AG Nomination Form.