A brief history
For already thousand of years people want to locate themselves. The Ancient Greeks used the positioning of the stars to discover their location. In 1935 Sir Robert watt developed the Radar system. During the second world war radar was used during to locate the opponent.
In 1973, the USA launched the very first GPS satellite. Originally, only the US military used this GPS. Later in 1989, president Reagan issued a directive making GPS freely available. In the years after the technology developed rapidly. Benefon Inc introduced the first commercial mobile for with build-in GPS.
Nowadays, almost device you can imagine has GPS embedded. For example, think about the possibility to track the location of the pizza delivery guy. Or navigate your way through a unknown city by car. The possibilities are endless.
To make all this information available to you, some piece of technology is needed. Many websites make use of a so-called geolocation API. Below I will explain what a geolocation API is and how it works.
Conceptual description: A geolocation API is a piece of software that is able to detect the location of someone. This location is simply the physical address on the planet. There are several geolocation API’s available. Most of the times these API’s are able to detect the country, region, and city of someone. However, often more information is provided like the local time, currency and IP-address.
Technical description: an API is a Application programming interface. An API is a piece of software that enables exchange of information between services and devices. For example, a weather API provides you with the local weather information if you send the API a location. The geolocation API also follows this process. Thus:
- A user visits a website with the geolocation API implemented.
- The geolocation API automatically detects the IP-address of the user.
- This IP-address is send to the server of the geolocation API.
- Subsequently, the location of that specific IP-address is looked up in a database.
- This information is send back to the website.
Use-cases of the Geolocation API
As described above the geolocation is used in many services. Below two examples are described:
- Online marketing: Many marketeers use your information to specifically target customers. For example, if you have a local shop in city X you only want to show ads to people living in city X.
- Local pricing: A website that sells products worldwide can increase their sales if the products are offered in the currency of the customer. Thus, by using the geolocation API the local currency of the customer can be detected. Subsequently, prices are shown in the local valuta.
For many years people want to location themselves. Current technology enables us to discover the location in milliseconds. With a geolocation API, it is possible to discover the the location of website visitors. Online marketing purposes, fraud detection, personalisation are examples of the usage of the API. So if you are a developer, go ahead and try our our IP location API.