IP Geolocation

What is IP geolocation?

IP geolocation is a technique used to estimate the real-world geographic location of a device connected to the Internet, based on its IP address.

This mechanism only works if the IP address of the device appears in a database along with its corresponding location, postal address, city, county, region or coordinates.

How can I obtain information about an IP address or an IP address range?

All IP address ranges assigned in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean are registered in the LACNIC database and can be queried with the Whois service.

More information: https://www.lacnic.net/1040/2/lacnic/whois

The information provided by the Whois service is the information declared by each organization in their contract with LACNIC. This means that the city and the country obtained by querying the Whois system may not match the actual location where the number resources are being used In light of this, LACNIC has developed Geofeeds, an IP geolocation service that uses updated information from different organizations in the region.

In addition to the information obtained via Whois, there are many commercial providers of geolocation databases. LACNIC is not responsible for the content of such databases.

Why would someone want to know the real-world location of an IP address or address range?

Many websites and online services need to identify where their visitors are located for a number of reasons, including to display the website in the user's native language, to automatically complete online forms, or to produce better search results.

Many sites that distribute multimedia content need to know where their users are located to restrict access based on each user's geographic location, as they are bound by contractual agreements with the owners of the broadcasting rights.

In many cases, geolocation is also important to keep some users from abusing online services by offering e-commerce websites tools to reduce fraud or to limit their services to specific countries or regions.

What does LACNIC LAC-2018-3 say about IP geolocation?

Since the approval of LAC-2018-3, LACNIC publishes a daily list of all assignments and sub-assignments made in Latin America and the Caribbean. This list includes the country and city of the organization receiving the resources.

It is available at the following links:

  1. https://ftp.lacnic.net/lacnic/dbase/lacnic.db.gz 
  2. https://ftp.lacnic.net/lacnic/dbase/lacnic.db.gz

These files have the following format:

  1. aut-num: Shows the assigned Autonomous System Number
  2. inetnum: Shows the assigned IPv4 address block along with its prefix. Example: 123.234.123/24
  3. inet6num: Shows the assigned IPv6 address block, along with its prefix. Example: 2801:1b8::/44
  4. city: Shows the city where the organization that received the block is located
  5. country: Shows the country where the organization that received the block is located
  6. created: Shows the date on which the record for the block was created
  7. changed: Shows the date on which the record for the block was modified
  8. status: Shows the type of IPv4 or IPv6 assignment

There are four possible statuses:

  1. allocated: direct assignment by LACNIC to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) member organization
  2. reallocated: sub-assignment by an ISP member organization to one of their clients
  3. assigned: direct assignment by LACNIC to an end user (bank, government agency, university)
  4. reassigned: sub-assignment by an end user to one of their subsidiaries

More information on LACNIC policy LAC-2018-3: https://politicas.lacnic.net/politicas/detail/id/LAC-2018-3/language/en 

This report is also available in .csv format at the following link: ftp://ftp.lacnic.net/lacnic/dbase/lacnic.db.csv.gz

What are the differences between the information provided by Geofeeds and the Whois service?

LACNIC publishes information on IP assignments and sub-assignments through different means: Whois port 43, Bulkwhois, RDAP, the delegations file, the dbase/lacnic.db.gz file created after the implementation of LACNIC policy LAC-2018-3, among others. These provide contact information for the organizations that have been assigned IP addresses.

The geographic information (postal address, city, country) provided by LACNIC is the information declared by each member. This may not match the location where the IP resources are actually being used.

Because this registry is publicly available and free to use, some organizations are using this information for IP geolocation purposes. Due to its very nature, this data is not very accurate, and this practice creates issues for customers, ISPs, content providers, and others.

Geofeeds is as a free, publicly available alternative that allows operators in the region to explicitly state where their IP addresses are being used and to sub-divide the blocks they have been assigned, specifying location information for each sub-block. This information can include information such as country, region, and city. And all of this in a single tool specifically designed for this purpose.