An overview of the Geocoding toolbox

Geocoding is the process of assigning a location, usually in the form of coordinate values, to an address by comparing the descriptive location elements in the address to those present in the reference material. Addresses come in many forms, ranging from the common address format of house number followed by the street name and succeeding information to other location descriptions such as postal zone or census tract. In essence, an address includes any type of information that distinguishes a place.

Many common tasks are related to the geocoding process, such as creating and maintaining address locators, geocoding addresses, and getting addresses for point locations. The Geocoding toolbox contains tools to assist in accomplishing these tasks.


Add Polygon Fields To Locator

Adds custom output fields from a polygon layer to an existing locator stored locally.

Clip Locator

Clips a locator based on an area of interest or extent and creates a locator with a smaller extent and size.

Create Composite Address Locator

Creates a composite locator. A composite locator consists of two or more individual locators that allow addresses and places to be matched using multiple locators.

Create Feature Locator

Creates a locator using reference data that contains a unique name or value for every feature stored in a single field. A locator created with this tool has broad applications. It can be used to search for names or unique attributes of features, such as water meters, short place names, cell towers, or alphanumeric strings used to identify locations (for example, N1N115).

Create Locator

Creates a locator that can find the location of an address or a place, convert a table of addresses or places to a collection of point features, or identify the address of a point location.

Delete Polygon Fields From Locator

Deletes all custom output fields from polygon layer from an existing locator that already has at lease one set of fields from a polygon layer attached.

Geocode Addresses

Geocodes a table of addresses. This process requires a table that stores the addresses you want to geocode and an address locator or a composite address locator. This tool matches the stored addresses against the locator and saves the result for each input record in a new point feature class. When using the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service, this operation may consume credits.

Rebuild Address Locator

Rebuilds an address locator to update the locator with the current reference data. Because a locator contains a snapshot of the reference data when it was created, it will not geocode addresses with the updated data when the geometry and attributes of the reference data are changed. To geocode addresses with the current version of the reference data, the locator must be rebuilt to update the changes in the locator.

Rematch Addresses

Rematches addresses in a geocoded feature class.

Reverse Geocode

Creates addresses from point locations in a feature class. The reverse geocoding process searches for the nearest address, place, or intersection for the point location based on optimized distance values for locators created with the Create Locator tool.

Geocoding tools


Data Preparation

The Data Preparation toolset contains tools that perform data preparation tasks. You can use these tools to prepare data for use in the Create Locator tool.


The Portal toolset contains tools that perform geocoding tasks with items on the portal.

Two tools for packaging locators are available in the Package toolset in the Data Management toolbox.


Consolidate Locator

Consolidate a locator or composite locator by copying all locators into a single folder.

Package Locator

Packages a locator or composite locator and creates a single compressed .gcpk file.

Package tools for locators

Related topics