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Location by IP

I know the answer, but I may be missing something

6:42 pm on Jun 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Geolocation by IP is 50-85% accurate, depending. I have a client that is opening an office in Hawaii and has it set it in their mind that they can automagically determine the Hawaii location by IP, and the project is moving forward like a locomotive based on this straw holding up the camel's back, in spite of my whining that it is bereft with problems. I've been in discussions with MaxMind and a couple other geolocation services and while they all want someone's wallet to crack open, the bottom line is "Hey man, if the server is in New Jersey, that's where it is!"

Let's not even get into Satellite providers, which I imagine (not "know") are a are portion of Hawaii's bandwidth.

The locomotive arrives at the station and is ready to test. First hit on the site from Hawaii, "it doesn't work." Of course not. They are dialing in from a company who's data center is in TEXAS.

They tried another location. KANSAS, on a RoadRunner backbone.

I've suggested the only reliable method would be via user input, just enter a zip code and that is all, but this is "unacceptable," as if some magical solution will just present itself.

However, being one that knows there's a truckload I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. My question is, am I missing something here? Is there some reliable method to determine a Hawaii location by IP?
12:57 am on July 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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While there is an entry in the ISO-639-2_utf-8.txt [loc.gov] for "haw|||Hawaiian|hawa´en", I've never ever seen it in actual usage for accept-language but someone else may have.

Shall I visit your site in Safari? My current first-choice language is Inuktitut, and I bet you've never seen that either. When I said "system languages" I referred to the list that OS X gives you to choose from. In fact, since most of those languages are exceedingly rare, I would bet that their only real purpose is to be included in Safari's language header on the off chance that you meet a site in your favorite language.

MS even dumped the Hawaiian font in Windows 7 that used to be in XP and now you have to get it from a 3rd party source.

Oh. Well. If the font isn't built into Windows, then I guess the language isn't really important is it.

Uh... What Hawaiian font? The language is written in Roman script. The glottal stop is shown with an ordinary apostrophe. You can use macrons if you like, but you hardly need a special font for those. You can even fake it with circumflexes.

Omniglot says:
The Hawaiian language is quite unusual because when the original Polynesians came in their canoes, most of their consonants were washed overboard in a storm, and they arrived here with almost nothing but vowels. All the streets have names like Kal'ia'iou'amaa'aaa'eiou, and many street signs spontaneously generate new syllables during the night.

They don't really. It was Dave Barry. But Omniglot quotes him.

:: quick detour here ::

###. There's a place that lists all your languages-- or at least the first ten-- but it's not coming up. All I get is the first choice. Either Safari changed its headers or the logs changed their detail level when I wasn't looking. But Piwik still thinks I'm Canadian.
1:01 am on July 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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most of their consonants were washed overboard in a storm
and subsequently washed ashore in Poland ..
9:04 am on July 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've played abit with IP/address databases. Accuracy is astonishingly wrong. There are lots of way to help figure out their location, I think they've all been covered above. You should still allow the user to correct it - then store the corrections.

I read some stuff about pinging triangulation last year, comparing ping times with local known landmarks. Apparently its possible to get within a few hundred metres.

Just like to add, this sort of information is very valuable, which is why Google is putting a lot of effort in this area. I personally think this why they were recording wifi data in their cars.
5:02 pm on July 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is turning out to be a very good thread, one of many that will be useful to developers struggling with this one.

do you want to detect people who are *in* hawaii or do you also need those who are *from* Hawaii but presently located elsewhere?

just in Hawaii.

Anyway, while I surfing on the WIFI and while the plane was travelling 550 miles per hour, my IP that I was assigned stayed the same through six different states.

And I'd guess that WiFi was from a satelite with a data center located in the one state.

First I'd see why they need it.

Vanity? The only real difference between the sites is Hawaiian imagery and all the forms are hard coded to HI for state. But they think this is really important and so far there's little that can sway them.

In the face of that statement it's kind of silly when you compare with UPS, USPS, Groupon, or any other location-specific service that **really** depends on geolocation to work properly. What, you think you're smarter than those guys/gals? Well, I'm not. :-) Give me a place to add a small "enter location" box or a lightbox/popup on first entry so I can set a cookie. Just one.

I tihnk this is the way to go, and hopefully they will get this, I don't have work time to chase ghosts. :-\
10:41 pm on July 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've got some experience dealing with IP geolocation. Based on user responses the several big providers are all about 60% accurate with 50km. The wifi/gps (W3C) geolocation requires a supported browser and approval from the user and comes in around 55% accurate within 2km.
11:02 pm on July 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WiFi never changed in over 2000 miles

Why should it change? It's just like home WiFi where the plane has one in-house router and getting data from one satellite.

Re IP location, most IP locators have me living about 3 states away (Australia) which is the registered business address of my ISP. Before that I was using a local ISP whose netblock was owned by another ISP in the next state but most European ISPs had that network blocked believing it to be located in Taiwan.

IP is most unreliable because blocks within blocks can be used in other countries. It can also be spoofed.
5:39 am on July 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"because it's essentially running on Juneau time"

There's local time, which is very different than mainland time and also different than population center time.

As a gentle comment, haole is often used in a negative fashion, I wouldn't use it except as a descriptor with people I know. Malahini perhaps better describes people who have no knowledge of Hawai'ian.

IP often seems to work for identification, maybe not 100%.
The cultural differences will be important, both in lower population numbers and computer usage. Family and family involvement are far more predominant than anything I've seen in Western U.S. media.
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