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Monday, August 17, 2020

Geolocation API and Your Web Browser


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While the Geolocation API is primarily used by mobile devices and tablets, desktop computers have had this interface well before smartphones entered the market.

Browsers Using It

Today, four main desktop browsers use Geolocation API. They include Opera (since version 10.6), Google Chrome, FireFox (since version 3.5), Safari 5 and finally, Internet Explorer (since version 9.0).

Information it Collects

The Geolocation API collects four location related properties: altitude (height), latitude and longitude (coordinates), and the approximate position of the server which the desktop browser is using. Note that sometimes the request for altitude information returns no value, and it does not greatly affect the approximate location.

How It Determines the Location

From the Desktop browser, the Geolocation API attempts to determine your location through your IP (internet protocol) address location. This location is obtained through the router which the device is connected to or the Internet Service Provider that the router uses. This does not provide high accuracy though, because it greatly depends on the location given by the IP address. So the accuracy can be limited to the level of a country, region or city, since the IP address is often linked to the NAT (Network Address Translation) of the Internet Service Provider (ISP). If the desktop computer is linked to a WiFi network, the positioning system within the Wi-Fi becomes the main location source, since some WiFi spots include location capabilities.

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