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About sharing an address locator as a locator package

Locator packages (.gcpk) make it easy to share locators with others. A locator package may contain one locator or a composite locator with its participating locators packaged into one convenient, portable file. The file size of the locator package is smaller than the locator as it is compressed and makes file transfer easier. Locator packages can be used for easy sharing of locators between colleagues in a workgroup, across departments in an organization, or with any other ArcGIS users via ArcGIS Online. Locator packages can also be used to create an archive of the locators.

Address locators and composite locators can be packaged and distributed by copying the locator package files to a disk or shared network.

Understanding the locator files

An address locator consists of multiple files in a file folder. When a locator is packaged and unpacked, the locator is saved in a file folder.

Address locator in a file folder

When an address locator is saved in a file folder, three files are created. The files are prefixed with the locator name and contain these file extensions:

  • .loc—Contains the general information of the locator
  • .loc.xml—Contains the metadata, parsing syntax, and parameters for the specified properties of the locator
  • .lox—Contains the attributes and indexes of the reference data

A composite address locator consists of only two files:

  • .loc—Contains the reference to the participating address locators
  • .loc.xml—Contains the metadata and parameters for the specified properties for the composite locator

Packaging locators

Creating a locator package is a process of copying and compressing the locators into a single file. A locator package has the file extension of .gcpk. A package can be created using the Package Locator geoprocessing tool.

Packaging a single locator

A locator package can be created for one locator at a time, and the locator is copied and compressed into a package file.


Packaging a locator that contains a place-name alias table is not supported. You may remove the place-name alias table before packaging the locator.

Packaging a composite locator

The best way to package multiple locators in a locator package is to create a composite locator and package the composite locator. By default, the composite locator and each participating locator is copied and compressed into a package file. If the participating locator is a geocode service, the service connection, or URL, remains in the composite locator.

Unpacking a locator package

When you unpack a locator package using the Extract Package tool, the locator or composite locator in the package is saved in a file folder. You can use the unpacked locators for geocoding.

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