Presented is an approach to damage localization for guided wave structural health monitoring (GWSHM) in plate-like structures. In this mode of SHM, transducers excite and sense guided waves in order to detect and characterize the presence of damage. The premise of the presented localization approach is simple: use as the estimated damage location the point on the structure with the maximum a posteriori probability (MAP) of being the location of damage (i.e., the most probable location given a set of sensor measurements). This is accomplished by constructing a minimally-informed statistical model of the GWSHM process. Parameters of the model which are unknown, such as scattered wave amplitude, are assigned non-informative Bayesian prior distributions and averaged out of the a posteriori probability calculation. Using an ensemble of measurements from an instrumented plate with stiffening stringers, the performance of the MAP estimate is compared to that of what were found to be the two most effective previously reported algorithms. The MAP estimate proved superior in nearly all test cases and was particularly effective in localizing damage using very sparse arrays of as few as three transducers.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.