RAL is currently running in production their stratum 1 with CVMFS_GEO_DB_FILE=NONE so the geo api is disabled. They also happened to switch to the currently recommended httpd cvmfs configuration for cvmfs-hastratum1 (step 7 here) and with that the first attempt of a client to use the geo api see a 500 Internal Server Error, and subsequent attempts sometime later hang. Eventually it causes even normal data queries to hang as httpd processes get tied up with hanging geo api queries. When I reproduced it the httpd error_log showed:
This should fail more gracefully and not cause anything to hang.