Q: Someone told me that it’s possible to accurately pinpoint where someone is in the world just from their computer’s IP address. This seems kind of crazy, but I was wondering if you knew of a way to demonstrate how this is done.
A: Just like a physical mailing address, an IP address can give rather specific information about where a computer is actually located. You’re not just connecting to the Internet individually – you’re connecting to a huge network that can be geographically pinpointed if need be. This type of thing is helpful in situations like Internet abuse. If companies or governmental authorities can gain access to the IP address from where the abuse took place, then they have a great starting point in tracking down the suspect.
To see this take place before your very eyes, check out the IP Address Locator from Geobytes. As soon as you visit the site, they’ll run some tests on your IP address and return the results to you. The site tracked me down to the city that I live in, and returned latitude and longitude results for my general area. A graphical map is even produced that shows your location and the surrounding area.
Wait a second… I see my car!
Have a question or subject that you would like to see covered? Drop Brandon a line and maybe he can include it in a future edition of the Gnewbie Gnook! Also, don’t forget our forums (or, if you’re a Latin freak, fora) where Gnomies from all around the world congregate to help, be helped, and discuss issues that may or may not have anything to do with technology!