Before you start creating an address locator, it is helpful to learn about their major components and properties. Creating an address locator involves selecting the correct address locator style and reference data and choosing options for the locator, such as minimum match score or side offset distance.
Components for creating an address locator
To create an address locator, the following components need to be specified on the Create Address Locator dialog box:
Address locator style
The address locator style is the skeleton of the address locator. It defines what reference data can be used in creating an address locator. It also specifies the properties and parsing grammar that guide the geocoding process and outputs. Choosing a suitable address locator style for the data you have and addresses you want to geocode is essential.
Reference data can serve one of three roles:
Reference data as primary table (required)—The primary table is the primary reference data to be used by the address locator. The reference data can be a shapefile, coverage, or geodatabase (GDB) feature class. You can also use data from StreetMap Premium for ArcGIS. The subsequent fields listed on the dialog box attempt to map the fields specified for the address locator style to the attribute fields in the reference data.
Reference data as alternate name table (optional)—Often, streets or other attributes in the reference data are referenced by multiple names, or the name changes over time. If this is the case, you can add the table that contains alternate street names to the address locator.
Reference data as alternate city name table (optional)—In some cases cities in the reference data may be referred to using multiple names. If this is the case, you can add the table that contains alternate city names to the address locator.
Reference data as place-name alias table (optional)—Place-name aliases are common names of a location, such as the name of a school, hospital, or other landmark. In geocoding, the address locator can be set to accommodate the use of place-name aliases instead of their addresses for matching. By adding a place-name alias table, you can search for locations based on a location name.
Based on the address locator style you choose, the fields available to match vary. By default, the address locator searches the reference attribute table and automatically maps attribute fields to the fields specified by the address locator. If the fields are not selected automatically, you can manually select the fields using the drop-down menu for each field. Selecting the appropriate fields for the address locator affects how an address is matched.
Components that can be modified after an address locator is created
When an address locator is created, default parameters of the geocoding properties are saved in the locator. The geocoding properties and options control how the locator finds and filters the list of candidates, how it places the locations of matched addresses, what information is contained in the geocoding output, and how to optimize geocoding performance. You can modify the settings on the Address Locator Properties dialog box. See the About modifying an address locator's settings topic for more information about what components you can modify.