Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Filter by Categories
ArcGIS Pro

What is IP Geolocation

What is IP and how do you geolocate it?

IP Geolocation is a technique used to estimate the geographical location of an internet-connected device based on its IP (Internet Protocol) address.

An IP address is a unique numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.

IP Geolocation uses databases and algorithms to map IP addresses to their approximate geographic locations, such as a country, region, city, or even more specific details like latitude and longitude.

for more information on how geolocation works click here

There are various methods and data sources used to determine IP Geolocation:

  1. IP address databases: Companies and organizations maintain extensive databases that map IP addresses to their associated geographic locations. These databases are regularly updated to account for changes in IP address allocations and network infrastructure. Some popular IP Geolocation database providers include MaxMind, IP2Location, and Neustar.
  2. Regional Internet Registries (RIRs): RIRs, such as ARIN, RIPE NCC, APNIC, LACNIC, and AFRINIC, are responsible for allocating IP addresses and maintaining records of their assignments within their respective regions. IP Geolocation services can use the information from RIRs to determine the geographic location of IP addresses.
  3. Network infrastructure data: Data from internet exchange points, routers, and other network infrastructure can be used to infer the location of IP addresses based on network topology and latency measurements.
  4. User-reported data: Some IP Geolocation services may also incorporate user-reported data, such as information provided by users during website registration or e-commerce transactions, to refine location estimates.

IP Geolocation is not always completely accurate. The accuracy of IP Geolocation can vary depending on the data sources and methods used, and it may be less reliable in certain regions or for specific IP address ranges.

Despite its limitations, IP Geolocation is widely used for various applications, including content localization, targeted advertising, fraud detection, and network security.

How does a browser-based geolocation work

Browser basedGeolocation is a feature provided by modern web browsers that allow websites to request and access the user’s geographic location. This feature is typically based on the Geolocation API, which is a standard part of the HTML5 specification. When a website requests a user’s location, the browser uses various sources of information to estimate the user’s position and returns the coordinates (latitude and longitude) along with an accuracy value.

The browser can use multiple methods to determine the user’s location, including:

  1. GPS: If the device has a built-in GPS receiver, such as in smartphones or tablets, the browser can access the GPS data to provide highly accurate location information.
  2. Wi-Fi positioning: The browser can use nearby Wi-Fi access points to estimate the user’s location. This method relies on databases of known Wi-Fi access points and their geographic locations, which are maintained by companies like Google and Apple. The browser scans for Wi-Fi signals, retrieves their unique identifiers (e.g., MAC addresses), and sends this information to the database provider, which then returns an estimated location based on the proximity to known access points.
  3. Cell tower triangulation: For devices with cellular connectivity, the browser can use the proximity to cell towers to estimate the user’s location. By measuring the signal strength and angle to multiple cell towers, the browser can triangulate the user’s position.
  4. IP Geolocation: As a fallback method, the browser can use the device’s IP address to estimate its geographic location, as discussed in the previous answer. This method is generally less accurate than GPS, Wi-Fi, or cell tower positioning but can still provide a rough estimate of the user’s location, such as city or country level.

Browser geolocation requires user consent. When a website requests the user’s location, the browser will prompt the user to grant or deny permission. This ensures that users have control over their location privacy.

Browser Geolocation is widely used for various web applications, such as local search, targeted advertising, social networking, weather forecasting, and location-based services. However, the accuracy and reliability of browser geolocation can vary depending on the device, available data sources, and environmental factors.

Code example of browser-based geolocation

You can use the following HTML and JavaScript code to demonstrate browser-based geolocation in a blog post. This code creates a simple webpage with a button to get the user’s location and display it in the browser:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <title>Browser Geolocation Demo</title>
    #output {
      margin-top: 20px;
  <h1>Browser Geolocation Demo</h1>
  <button onclick="getLocation()">Get My Location</button>
  <div id="output"></div>

    function getLocation() {
      if (navigator.geolocation) {
        navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(showPosition, showError);
      } else {
        document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = "Geolocation is not supported by this browser.";

    function showPosition(position) {
      const lat = position.coords.latitude;
      const lon = position.coords.longitude;
      document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = `Latitude: ${lat}<br>Longitude: ${lon}`;

    function showError(error) {
      switch (error.code) {
        case error.PERMISSION_DENIED:
          document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = "User denied the request for Geolocation.";
        case error.POSITION_UNAVAILABLE:
          document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = "Location information is unavailable.";
        case error.TIMEOUT:
          document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = "The request to get user location timed out.";
        case error.UNKNOWN_ERROR:
          document.getElementById("output").innerHTML = "An unknown error occurred.";

To use this code, copy and paste it into a new HTML file, and open the file in a web browser. The webpage will display a “Get My Location” button, and when clicked, it will prompt the user for permission to access their location. If the user grants permission, the browser will fetch the user’s location using the Geolocation API and display the latitude and longitude on the page.

Keep in mind that some web browsers may require that the page is served over HTTPS (secure connection) for the Geolocation API to work. To test the code in such cases, you may need to host the file on a web server with SSL/TLS enabled

About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.