- November 3, 2011
Greetings from deep in the Data Mine here at Infochimps. This week the team rolled out new features that combine one of our most popular APIs with our Geo API platform, unlocking the ability to geolocate based on an IP Address with any of our Geo APIs.
The idea is based on one of our more popular mashups, our MaxMind GeoLite IP to Census API which blends IP geolocation functionality with Census data. This allows you to find out not just where an IP address maps to, but also some high level information about that area – ideal for websites that do geotargeting and for people looking for a deeper understanding about their visitor audience. The data it draws on has become a bit dated though (it uses the 2000 Census), and the data covers a relatively narrow band of properties. Enter our Geo API platform, our platform for richer and more current data from a variety of sources.
A great advantage of our new Geo API platform is our ability to perform two-step queries internally, essentially converting a parameter into another parameter behind the scenes. It’s the key technology behind our ability to geolocate using an address: our geocoder first converts the address into latitude/longitude before making a secondary query against our data store to retrieve the response values.
By using the same principle with IP Geolocation instead of address geocoding, we have unlocked the ability for our users to query any of our Geo APIs with an IP Address as the geolocator, returning data as if the request had used a latitude/longitude. So now you can use an updated IP to Census API and also a more detailed drilldown version. Furthermore you can now go from IP to Foursquare Venue, Zillow Neighborhood, Wikipedia Article, and so on.
To use the new IP-Geolocation feature, just pass in the parameter g.ip_address with an IP address, along with a g.radius. Check out this example query, which will help you locate banks and credit unions in our Foursquare database that are within 3 kms (about 1 mile) from the Infochimps office in Austin, TX.
http://api.infochimps.com/geo/location/foursquare/places/search?&f._type=business.bank_or_credit_union&g.ip_address=126.96.36.199&g.radius=3000&apikey=[YOUR API KEY HERE]
For client-side geo application developers we’ve also added another feature along with g.ip_address. With any of these APIs you can now pass “g.get_ip_address=true” instead, and our Geo API will determine the IP address of the machine calling our API and use that IP address as the geolocator. This new flag makes it easy to ask questions of our API like “tell me about venues near me” without ever having to know what your longitude is or how to interpret a quadkey.
All in the spirit of making Geo data more accessible and easy to use!