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Ruby C binding to Maxmind GeoIP Library
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Ruby GeoIP Bindings


This is a library which provides a single function. The function takes as input an IP address and it outputs a hash containing best-guess geographical information (like city, country, latitude, and longitude).

Actually this is only a Ruby binding to a C library which provides this function. Also, you must download a large binary database with all this mapping information. It is kindly provided free of charge by


require 'geoip'
db ='/opt/GeoIP/share/GeoIP/GeoLiteCity.dat')
result = db.look_up('')
p result 
# => {:city=>"Ithaca", 
#     :latitude=>42.4277992248535, 
#     :longitude=>-76.4981994628906, 
#     :country_code3=>"USA", 
#     :country_code=>"US",
#     :country_name=>"United States", 
#     :dma_code=>555,
#     :area_code=>607, 
#     :region=>"NY" }

There are arguments to database initializer.

  1. The first argument is the filename of the GeoIPCity.dat file

  2. The second argument (optional) is to specify how GeoIP should keep the database in memory. There are three possibilities

    • :filesystem -- Read database from filesystem, uses least memory.

    • :index -- The most frequently accessed index portion of the database, resulting in faster lookups than :filesystem, but less memory usage than :memory.

    • :memory -- (Default.) Load database into memory, faster performance but uses more memory.

  3. The third argument is boolean and decides whether the system should reload the database if changes are made to the dat file. (You probably don't need this. Default: false.)

For example, :filesystem, true)

Usage for Organization Search

require 'geoip'
db ='/opt/GeoIP/share/GeoIP/GeoIPOrg.dat')
# => {:name=>"Road Runner"}

The name is the only data available for Organizations.


Some variation of the following should work.

  1. Install the GeoCity C library. You can get it from MaxMind. For example, I like to install mine in /opt/GeoIP, so I do this:

      tar -zxvf GeoIP-1.4.3.tar.gz 
      cd GeoIP-1.4.3
      ./configure --prefix=/opt/GeoIP
      make && sudo make install

    On Mac OS X, you can install using homebrew:

      brew install geoip

    Linux platforms utilizing Apt have several packages available:

  2. Now install the geoip gem

    gem install geoip-c -- --with-geoip-dir=/opt/GeoIP

    Alternatively, if you installed libgeoip using homebrew:

    gem install geoip-c
  3. Download the GeoLite City database file in binary format at Maybe this direct link will work. I put this file in


    If you installed libgeoip using homebrew then put it in:


    If you are a paying customer, you will download the files required below:

    MaxMind Customer Downloads

    You will want to get the City Rev1 data file and Organization files at minimum.

  4. Use it!

    See above for usage details.


  1. Might need to set

    export ARCHFLAGS="-arch i386"

    to be able to compile the gem.


    env ARCHFLAGS="-arch i386" gem install geoip-c -- --with-geoip-dir=/opt/GeoIP
  2. You might find this shell script helpful to install the C library.


This iteration of the library is based on the hard work of Ryah Dahl ( You can find the original RDocs and Git Repo below:

rdocs git repo


Special appreciation and thanks belongs to Ry Dahl for his initial work on this library.

Many thanks to our contributors:

  • Charles Brian Quinn (seebq)
  • Michael Sheakoski
  • Silvio Quadri
  • Leonardo Almeida (leogalmeida)


Copyright (C) 2007--2009 Ryah Dahl (, Matt Todd (

This program is free software. It comes without any warranty, to the extent permitted by applicable law. You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License, Version 2, as published by Sam Hocevar. See for more details.

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