Geolocation is the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 or an Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

-connected computer terminal. Geolocation may refer to the practice of assessing the location, or to the actual assessed location.


Geolocation is closely related to positioning but can be distinguished from it by a greater emphasis on determining a meaningful location (e.g. a street address) rather than just a set of geographic coordinates. Specifically this involves the use of advanced radio frequency (RF) location systems utilising, for example, Time Difference Of Arrival (TDOA) where greater specificity of location is possible. TDOA systems often utilise mapping displays or other geographic information system
Geographic Information System
A geographic information system, geographical information science, or geospatial information studies is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data...

. This is in contrast to more traditional radiolocation
Radiolocating is the process of finding the location of something through the use of radio waves. It generally refers to passive uses, particularly radar—as well as detecting buried cables, water mains, and other public utilities. It is similar to radionavigation, but radiolocation usually...

 technologies, for example Direction Finding
Direction finding
Direction finding refers to the establishment of the direction from which a received signal was transmitted. This can refer to radio or other forms of wireless communication...

 where a line of bearing to a transmitter is achieved and not the specific location.

Internet and computer geolocation can be performed by associating a geographic location with the Internet Protocol (IP) address
IP address
An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing...

, MAC address
MAC address
A Media Access Control address is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications on the physical network segment. MAC addresses are used for numerous network technologies and most IEEE 802 network technologies, including Ethernet...

, RFID, hardware embedded article/production number, embedded software number (such as UUID
Universally Unique Identifier
A universally unique identifier is an identifier standard used in software construction, standardized by the Open Software Foundation as part of the Distributed Computing Environment ....

, Exif/IPTC
IPTC Information Interchange Model
The Information Interchange Model is a file structure and set of metadata attributes that can be applied to text, images and other media types...

Extensible Metadata Platform
The Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform is a standard, created by Adobe Systems Inc., for processing and storing standardized and proprietary information relating to the contents of a file....

 or modern steganography
Steganography is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message, a form of security through obscurity...

), invoice, Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 connection location, or device GPS coordinates, or other, perhaps self-disclosed information. Geolocation usually works by automatically looking up an IP address on a WHOIS
WHOIS is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name, an IP address block, or an autonomous system, but is also used for a wider range of other information. The protocol stores...

 service and retrieving the registrant's physical address.

IP address geolocation data can include information such as country, region, city, postal/zip code, latitude, longitude and timezone. Deeper data sets can determine other parameters such as domain name, connection speed, ISP, language, proxies, company name, US DMA/MSA, NAICS codes, and home/business.

The word geolocation is also used in other contexts to refer to the process of inferring the location of a tracked animal based, for instance, on the time history of sunlight brightness or the water temperature and depth measured by an instrument attached to the animal. Such instruments are commonly called archival tags or dataloggers.

See also

  • Geo (marketing)
    Geo (marketing)
    As a general term, Geomarketing is the integration of Geographical intelligence into all marketing aspects including sales and distribution. Geomarketing Research is the use of geographic parameters in research methodology starting from sampling, data collection, analysis, and...

  • Geo targeting
    Geo targeting
    Geo targeting in geomarketing and internet marketing is the method of determining the geolocation of a website visitor and delivering different content to that visitor based on his or her location, such as country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, organization, IP address, ISP or other...

  • Geocoding
    Geocoding is the process of finding associated geographic coordinates from other geographic data, such as street addresses, or zip codes...

  • Geolocation software
    Geolocation software
    In computing, geolocation software is used to deduce the geolocation of another party. For example, on the Internet, one geolocation approach is to identify the subject party's IP address, then determine what country , organization, or user the IP address has been assigned to, and finally,...

  • Geotagging
    Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as a geotagged photograph or video, websites, SMS messages, QR Codes or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata...

  • Geotagged photo
  • Location-based service
    Location-based service
    A Location-Based Service is an information or entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device....

  • Web analytics
    Web analytics
    Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage....

  • W3C Geolocation API
    W3C Geolocation API
    The W3C Geolocation API is an effort by the World Wide Web Consortium to standardize an interface to retrieve the geographical location information for a client-side device...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.