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A pure Ruby library to look up timezone from latitude / longitude offline. Ported version of 'timezonefinder' on PyPI.


~> 1.11
~> 5.0
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~> 0.40
~> 0.11
 Project Readme


Build Status Gem Version MIT licensed

NOTE: version 1.5.7 is incompatible with version 1.5.6 because the argument were changed into named arguments following the original Python version's change.

This is a fast and lightweight pure ruby project with no runtime dependency for looking up the corresponding timezone for a given lat/lng on earth entirely offline.

This project is derived from timezonefinder (github).

The underlying timezone data is based on work done by Eric Muller.

Timezones at sea and Antarctica are not yet supported (because somewhat special rules apply there).


in your terminal simply:

gem install timezone_finder

(you might need to run this command as administrator)



require 'timezone_finder'
tf = TimezoneFinder.create


This is the default function to check which timezone a point lies within. If no timezone has been found, nil is being returned.

PLEASE NOTE: This approach is optimized for speed and the common case to only query points within a timezone. The last possible timezone in proximity is always returned (without checking if the point is really included). So results might be misleading for points outside of any timezone.

longitude = 13.358
latitude = 52.5061
puts tf.timezone_at(lng: longitude, lat: latitude)
# = Europe/Berlin


This function is for making sure a point is really inside a timezone. It is slower, because all polygons (with shortcuts in that area) are checked until one polygon is matched.

puts tf.certain_timezone_at(lng: longitude, lat: latitude)
# = Europe/Berlin

Proximity algorithm

Only use this when the point is not inside a polygon, because the approach otherwise makes no sense. This returns the closest timezone of all polygons within +-1 degree lng and +-1 degree lat (or nil).

longitude = 12.773955
latitude = 55.578595
puts tf.closest_timezone_at(lng: longitude, lat: latitude)
# = Europe/Copenhagens

Other options:

To increase search radius even more, use the delta_degree-option:

puts tf.closest_timezone_at(lng: longitude, lat: latitude, delta_degree: 3)
# = Europe/Copenhagens

This checks all the polygons within +-3 degree lng and +-3 degree lat. I recommend only slowly increasing the search radius, since computation time increases quite quickly (with the amount of polygons which need to be evaluated) and there might be many polygons within a couple degrees.

Also keep in mind that x degrees lat are not the same distance apart than x degree lng (earth is a sphere)! So to really make sure you got the closest timezone increase the search radius until you get a result, then increase the radius once more and take this result. (should only make a difference in really rare cases)

With exact_computation=true the distance to every polygon edge is computed (way more complicated), instead of just evaluating the distances to all the vertices. This only makes a real difference when polygons are very close.

With return_distances=true the output looks like this:

[ 'tz_name_of_the_closest_polygon',[ distances to every polygon in km], [tz_names of every polygon]]

Note that some polygons might not be tested (for example when a zone is found to be the closest already). To prevent this use force_evaluation=true.

longitude = 42.1052479
latitude = -16.622686
puts tf.closest_timezone_at(lng: longitude, lat: latitude, delta_degree: 2,
                            exact_computation: true, return_distances: true, force_evaluation: true)
# = ["uninhabited",
#     [238.1846260648566, 267.91867468894895, 207.43831938964382, 209.6790144988556, 228.4213564154256, 80.66907784731693, 217.1092486625455, 293.54672523493076, 304.527493783916],
#     ["Africa/Maputo", "Africa/Maputo", "Africa/Maputo", "Africa/Maputo", "Africa/Maputo", "uninhabited", "Indian/Antananarivo", "Indian/Antananarivo", "Indian/Antananarivo"]
#   ]


Using the conversion tool:

Make sure you installed the GDAL framework (that's for converting .shp shapefiles into .json) Change to the directory of the timezone_finder package (location of file_converter.rb) in your terminal and then:

# on mac: curl "" -o ""
unzip tz_world
ogr2ogr -f GeoJSON -t_srs crs:84 tz_world.json ./world/tz_world.shp
rm ./world/ -r

There has to be a tz_world.json (of approx. 100MB) in the folder together with the file_converter.rb now. Then you should run the converter by:

ruby file_converter.rb

this converts the .json into the needed .bin (overwriting the old version!) and updating the used timezone names.

Known Issues

The original author MrMinimal64 ran tests for approx. 5M points and these are no mistakes he found.


If you notice that the tz data is outdated, encounter any bugs, have suggestions, criticism, etc. feel free to open an Issue, add a Pull Requests on Git.


Thanks to MrMinimal64 for developing the original version and giving me some advices.


timezone_finder is distributed under the terms of the MIT license (see LICENSE.txt).