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Define the locator components

Before you start creating a locator, it is helpful to learn about the major components and properties that go into creating one. Creating a locator involves selecting the correct locator style and reference data.

Learn more about the various locator styles and their proper application

Components of a locator

To create a locator, the following components need to be specified on the Create Address Locator tool in the Geoprocessing pane:

Locator style

The locator style is the skeleton of the locator. It defines what reference data can be used to create a locator. It also specifies the properties and parsing grammar that guide the geocoding process and outputs. Choosing a suitable locator style for the data you have and addresses you want to geocode is essential.

Learn more about locator styles

Learn more about commonly used locator styles

Reference data

Reference data can serve one of these roles:

  • Reference data as primary table (required)—The primary table is the primary reference data to be used by the locator. The reference data can be a shapefile or geodatabase (GDB) feature class. You can also use data from StreetMap Premium for ArcGIS. The subsequent fields listed on the tool attempt to map the fields specified for the locator style to the attribute fields in the reference data.
  • 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 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 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 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.

Field map

Based on the locator style you choose, the fields available to match vary. By default, the locator searches the reference attribute table and automatically maps attribute fields to the fields specified by the 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 locator affects how an address is matched.