Acoustic Emission used in Non-Destructive Testing is focused on analysis of elastic waves propagating in mechanical structures. Then any information carried by generated acoustic waves, further recorded by a set of transducers, allow to determine integrity of these structures. It is clear that material properties and geometry strongly impacts the result. In this paper a method for Acoustic Emission source localization in thin plates is presented. The approach is based on the Time–Distance Domain Transform, that is a wavenumber–frequency mapping technique for precise event localization. The major advantage of the technique is dispersion compensation through a phase-shifting of investigated waveforms in order to acquire the most accurate output, allowing for source-sensor distance estimation using a single transducer. The accuracy and robustness of the above process are also investigated. This includes the study of Young’s modulus value and numerical parameters influence on damage detection. By merging the Time–Distance Domain Transform with an optimal distance selection technique, an identification–localization algorithm is achieved. The method is investigated analytically, numerically and experimentally. The latter involves both laboratory and large scale industrial tests.