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Published on Apr 11, 2011
Paper presented by Yong Wang of UESTC and Northwestern University; Daniel Burgener, Marcel Flores, and Aleksandar Kuzmanovic of Northwestern University; and Cheng Huang of Microsoft Research at the 8th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI '11).
Abstract: A highly accurate client-independent geolocation service stands to be an important goal for the Internet. Despite an extensive research effort and significant advances in this area, this goal has not yet been met. Motivated by the fact that the best results to date are achieved by utilizing additional 'hints' beyond inherently inaccurate delay-based measurements, we propose a novel geolocation method that fundamentally escalates the use of external information. In particular, many entities (e.g., businesses, universities, institutions) host their Web services locally and provide their actual geographical location on their Websites. We demonstrate that the information provided in this way, when combined with network measurements, represents a precious geolocation resource. Our methodology automatically extracts, verifies, utilizes, and opportunistically inflates such Web-based information to achieve high accuracy. Moreover, it overcomes many of the fundamental inaccuracies encountered in the use of absolute delay measurements. We demonstrate that our system can geolocate IP addresses 50 times more accurately than the best previous system, i.e., it achieves a median error distance of 690 meters on the corresponding data set.