Simply speaking, geolocation API is the process of identifying a user’s country, city, latitude, and longitude (meaning, his geo-location) through their Internet Protocol (IP) address based on a database of country locations. This is possible because each device’s IP address is unique. The availability of IP geolocation databases, or APIs allows the server to pair each IP address with the location data available in that database and provided businesses with the unique IP address information. Note that since these databases are maintained by third parties, the quality of the IP addresses data is as good as the company that manages it.
For businesses, identifying where their web visitors are coming from matters to their bottom line and assist them in taking multiple marketing and communication decisions. For instance, if they have an e-commerce website, identifying the source location of their visitors allows them to better understand the markets they are reaching, leading them to adjust the available languages on their website, products, and services, besides updating the country code list on the forms. Also, credit cards and payment options can be adjusted based on geographic location. Website owners can use this information to enhance and optimize the web viewing experience. Geolocation API can also help identify illegal activities on the website, such as that coming from hackers and spammers. This would allow the web owner to track the source of the problem and install necessary protections accordingly to prevent fraud.
However, although a business owner may wish to find the exact, precise visitor location, this is impossible using only the IP address. Tools to find more exact locations of web visitors include the ARIN Whois database, which includes a mechanism to find the registration information and the contact information for the IP addresses registered within that database. Other techniques include the topology-based geolocation (TBG) and the constraint-based geolocation (CBG) that provide more accurate locations using the hop and latency (delay between networks) networking parameters. Yet, for such activities to be conducted, the database or the server should have extensive networking data.