ArcGIS Server Banner

Working with address locators and geocoding

Working with address locators and geocoding

Release 9.3 E-mail This TopicPrintable VersionGive Us feedback

An address locator is a dataset in the geodatabase used to manage address information for features in order to perform geocoding. Geocoding is a process used to match a single address or a table of addresses against a dataset containing features that have addresses. The feature, or a point along or within the feature, is returned for each matched address.

Address locators store "addressable" features along with their address information and are used to assign locations to addresses. An address locator contains

When geocoding a table of addresses, the address attributes and indexes contained in an address locator are used to translate nonspatial descriptions of places, such as street addresses, into locations (i.e., points, lines, or polygons) that can be displayed as features on a map.

NOTE: In ArcGIS 8.3 and previous versions, an address locator was called a geocoding service.

Learn more about geocoding.

Learn more about address locators.

Common geocoding tasks

There are several common tasks that you may need to perform when geocoding. The following list should help you find the information you need to know to complete those tasks.

Build or maintain reference data


If you would like to Refer to
Choose appropriate reference data Understanding address locator styles; Commonly used address locator styles
Prepare reference data Preparing reference and address data; Editing overview
Standardize your reference data Standardizing your reference data

Determine address locator style


If you would like to Refer to
Choose an address locator style Commonly used address locator styles

Build an address locator


If you would like to Refer to
Build an address locator Creating an address locator

Locate addresses


If you would like to Refer to
Prepare addresses for geocoding Preparing reference and address data
Add and remove address locators from an ArcMap document Managing address locators in ArcMap
Geocode a single address Finding an individual address
Geocode a table of addresses Geocoding a table of addresses
Create a dynamic feature class Geocoding a table of addresses
Review and modify geocoding results Rematching a geocoded feature class
Search for an intersection Searching for an intersection
Use alternative street names in a search Building an address locator for alternative searches
Search based on place-names Building an address locator for alternative searches

Publish, maintain, or customize the address locator


If you would like to Refer to
Work with geocoding Web services Accessing distributed address locators
Publish your geocoding service Deciding to share an address locator
Edit reference data Updating your reference data
Maintain reference data Updating your reference data; An overview of editing
Rebuild the address locator Rebuilding address locators
Use an address data model support.esri.com
Modify the address locator settings Changing default settings
Customize your address locator file Why change your address locator file?
Modify the geocoding rule base Geocoding Rule Base Developer Guide*; Accommodating changes in the geocoding rule base files

*Click here to view a PDF of the printed book, Geocoding Rule Base Developer Guide. If this link doesn't work, you can open the document (Geocoding_Rule_Base_Developer_Guide.pdf) from the \arcgis\Documentation folder in your ArcGIS Desktop installation location.

To view this document, you need a copy of Adobe Reader, which you can download free from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html.

See Also

  • The geocoding work flow
  • The process of geocoding
  • Common geocoding tasks