timezonefinder is a fast and lightweight python package for looking up the corresponding timezone for given coordinates on earth entirely offline.

Timezones internally are being represented by polygons and the timezone membership of a given point (= lat lng coordinate pair) is determined by simple point in polygon tests. A few tweaks help to keep the computational requirements low and make this package fast. For example precomputed, so called “shortcuts” reduce the amount of timezone polygons to be checked (a kind of index for the polygons). See the documentation of the code itself for further explanation.

Current data set in use: precompiled timezone-boundary-builder (without oceans, (geo)JSON)


The timezone polygons do NOT follow the shorelines. This makes the results of closest_timezone_at() and certain_timezone_at() somewhat meaningless.

Also see: GitHub, PyPI, conda-forge feedstock, timezone_finder: ruby port,

timezonefinderL GUI: demo and online API of an older timezonefinderL version


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

Speed Test Results

obtained on MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017), 2,8 GHz Intel Core i7

Speed Tests:
"realistic points": points included in a timezone

testing class <class 'timezonefinder.timezonefinder.TimezoneFinder'>

in memory mode: True
Numba: OFF (JIT compiled functions NOT in use)

testing 1000 realistic points
total time: 7.0352s
avg. points per second: 1.4 * 10^2

testing 1000 random points
total time: 3.1339s
avg. points per second: 3.2 * 10^2

in memory mode: False
Numba: ON (JIT compiled functions in use)

startup time: 0.001301s

testing 100000 realistic points
total time: 5.0705s
avg. points per second: 2.0 * 10^4

testing 100000 random points
total time: 3.2575s
avg. points per second: 3.1 * 10^4

in memory mode: True
Numba: ON (JIT compiled functions in use)

startup time: 0.03545s

testing 100000 realistic points
total time: 2.0659s
avg. points per second: 4.8 * 10^4

testing 100000 random points
total time: 1.1928s
avg. points per second: 8.4 * 10^4

testing class <class 'timezonefinder.timezonefinder.TimezoneFinderL'>

startup time: 0.0005124s

using_numba()==True (JIT compiled functions in use)

testing 100000 realistic points
total time: 0.1855s
avg. points per second: 5.4 * 10^5

testing 100000 random points
total time: 0.1722s
avg. points per second: 5.8 * 10^5


testing 100000 realistic points
total time: 0.502s
avg. points per second: 2.0 * 10^5

testing 100000 random points
total time: 0.5323s
avg. points per second: 1.9 * 10^5

Comparison to pytzwhere

This project has originally been derived from pytzwhere (github), but aims at providing improved performance and usability.

pytzwhere is parsing a 76MB .csv file (floats stored as strings!) completely into memory and computing shortcuts from this data on every startup. This is time, memory and CPU consuming. Additionally calculating with floats is slow, keeping those 4M+ floats in the RAM all the time is unnecessary and the precision of floats is not even needed in this case (s. detailed comparison and speed tests below).

In comparison most notably initialisation time and memory usage are significantly reduced. pytzwhere is using up to 450MB of RAM (with shapely and numpy active), because it is parsing and keeping all the timezone polygons in the memory. This uses unnecessary time/ computation/ memory and this was the reason I created this package in the first place. This package uses at most 40MB (= encountered memory consumption of the python process) and has some more advantages:


  • highly decreased memory usage
  • highly reduced start up time
  • usage of 32bit int (instead of 64+bit float) reduces computing time and memory consumption. The accuracy of 32bit int is still high enough. According to my calculations the worst accuracy is 1cm at the equator. This is far more precise than the discrete polygons in the data.
  • the data is stored in memory friendly binary files (approx. 41MB in total, original data 120MB .json)
  • data is only being read on demand (not completely read into memory if not needed)
  • precomputed shortcuts are included to quickly look up which polygons have to be checked
  • available proximity algorithm closest_timezone_at()
  • function get_geometry() enables querying timezones for their geometric shape (= multipolygon with holes)
  • further speedup possible by the use of numba (code JIT compilation)
Startup times:
tzwhere: 0:00:29.365294
timezonefinder: 0:00:00.000888
33068.02 times faster

all other cross tests are not meaningful because tz_where is still using the outdated tz_world data set


Thanks to:

Adam for adding organisational features to the project and for helping me with publishing and testing routines.

snowman2 for creating the conda-forge recipe.

synapticarbors for fixing Numba import with py27.

zedrdave for valuable feedback.