Active Geolocation Project

You can find out where a computer is physically, by measuring how long it takes to communicate with other computers in known locations. But nobody is sure how well this works outside of Europe and North America.

This demo is part of a research study conducted by Zachary Weinberg, Nicolas Christin, and Vyas Sekar of Carnegie Mellon University. It will show you how accurately this measurement can locate your computer, and then, if you want, you can send us the measurements to help with our research.

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The demo can take several minutes to run, and the map won’t change until close to the end.

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Now that you’ve seen the demo, are you interested in helping us with our research? We’ll need you to tell us your true location.

For comparison
Your browser thinks it is here
freegeoip.net thinks your IP address is here

How it works

Your computer sends messages to 200 other computers around the world (the “anchor” servers of the RIPE Atlas), and measures the round-trip times.

We know where those servers are and we have measured how long it takes them to talk to each other. Using that, we can estimate that if it takes this long for your computer to communicate with that server, then they are at most this far apart. (This is called the CBG algorithm.)

For each server, the demo draws a circle on the map covering “this far apart,” unless it would be too big to be helpful (more than half the surface of the Earth). Your computer should be where all the circles coincide.

For comparison, the map also shows where your browser and freegeoip.net thinks your computer is located.