What is an address locator?

The address locator is the main tool for geocoding in ArcGIS. It is a dataset that contains information including address attributes, indexes, and queries for geocoding. An address locator contains a snapshot of the reference data that is used for geocoding. In the process of geocoding, the reference data is no longer needed after the locator is created.

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About address locators

Locator objects create geometry for nonspatial descriptions of locations. An address locator is a particular type of locator that creates geometry for text descriptions representing addresses. This process is commonly called geocoding.

Address locator types

Address locators can be stored on disk or in a file, personal, or ArcSDE geodatabase. Address locators can also be used to create GeocodeServer objects that are served using ArcGIS Server. The following are the two main types of ESRIAddressLocator objects:

Address locator styles

There are a number of different address locator styles. Choosing the right one requires knowing what type of reference data you have and in what format your addresses will be. For example, you can use the US Address - Dual Ranges address locator style for street centerline data containing left and right address ranges, directionals, street names, street types, and left and right Zones (city, state, and/or ZIP Code). If you want to geocode U.S. ZIP Code data, you can use the ZIP 5-Digit address locator style for creating a ZIP Code address locator based on a ZIP Code point reference feature class.

Additional information stored by address locators

An address locator also contains information on how an address is standardized, searching methods for possible matches, and what output information of a match is returned. You can redistribute address locators by copying and pasting the address locators onto a different workspace or network.

What address locators do

Address locators find candidates for addresses by geocoding tables of addresses and finding single addresses.

See Also:

Location library overview
How to geocode a table of addresses
How to geocode a single address

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