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A colleague of mine asked whether IP addresses could be "approximated" to physical location. As with most IT questions, "it depends" was a response I used frequently. Is there a service or program that can take a list of IP addresses and find/approximate the physical location to where the IP is?

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Yes, IPs can be roughly associated to geophysical location. It's how Hulu & BBC stop content being visible outside various countries, and akamai provides caching & redirection... –  OMG Ponies Nov 20 '09 at 21:20
    
Turns out this is a dupe of a question asked a few hours ago: serverfault.com/questions/86737 –  womble Nov 20 '09 at 21:39
    
How is this a dupe? Just because my question is similar doesn't mean it's the exact duplicate of another question. The other question was about a scripting solution and I'm looking for a service/program/website. –  osij2is Nov 20 '09 at 22:05
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A script is a program. –  womble Nov 20 '09 at 22:16

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

GeoIP databases, as folks are already mentioning, are the approximation of what you're talking about. The problem is that they're just that, data, and data that can be faulty.

As someone who works for a cable provider, whenever we do a fiber node move or shift a block of IPs from one CMTS to another, we can sometimes drastically mess up those databases until they're corrected.

As Maxmind explains:

We arrive at the accuracy figure by checking known IP address and location pairs against our database. We obtain the known IP location pairs from sites that ask the web visitor to provide their geographic location. The geographic location along with the web visitor's IP Address is forwarded to us.

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There's a free MaxMind GeoIP database, which I think is queryable online (or you can download the database and query against it). They also sell a more accurate database (as do other companies, I'm sure, but that's the one I know about).

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I'm not sure you can do much better than this XKCD comic.

More usefully, there are sites like this one that will tell you the location of some IP addresses, although this and the link I had a few minutes ago don't seem to do that well on my test addresses.

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+1 for xkcd. :) –  osij2is Nov 20 '09 at 21:15

Buried deep within my answer to the duplicate question womble referred to is the URL:

http://www.geody.com/geoip.php

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