The task of locating a source in space by measuring travel time differences of elastic or electromagnetic waves from the source to several sensors is evident in varying fields. The new concepts of automatic acoustic emission localization presented in this article are based on developments from geodesy and seismology. A detailed description of source location determination in space is given with the focus on acoustic emission data from concrete specimens. Direct and iterative solvers are compared. A concept based on direct solvers from geodesy extended by a statistical approach is described which allows a stable source location determination even for partly erroneous onset times. The developed approach is validated with acoustic emission data from a large specimen leading to travel paths up to 1 m and therefore to noisy data with errors in the determined onsets. The adaption of the algorithms from geodesy to the localization procedure of sources of elastic waves offers new possibilities concerning stability, automation and performance of localization results. Fracture processes can be assessed more accurately.