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Geocoding and geosearch

Locators allow you to find addresses and places that you can visualize on a map, insert as stops for a route, and load as input for spatial analysis. ArcGIS Online locators include geosearch and geocoding as follows:

  • Geosearch (also known as location search)—Locate an address or point of interest and have the map zoom to that location. The result can be displayed on the map, but the result is not stored in any way for later use. Geosearch is available to anyone who accesses Map Viewer or a public app that includes a location search on a map. It does not require an organizational account or consume credits (but you are limited to 1 million geosearches per month).
  • Geocoding—Convert an address or place to an x,y coordinate and append the result to an existing record in a database. Mapping is not always involved, but placing the results on a map may be part of a workflow. Batch geocoding and reverse geocoding fall into this category. An organizational account with the premium content geocoding privilege is required to access Esri World Geocoding Service, and any views of it, for batch geocoding.
    Note:

    Reverse geocoding is not supported for views of Esri World Geocoding Service.

By default, ArcGIS Online uses Esri World Geocoding Service to find addresses, cities, landmarks, business names, and postal codes in more than 100 countries around the world. Additionally, Esri World Geocoding Service is used to find the location of x,y coordinates using longitude and latitude, as well as coordinate reference systems such as Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) and United States National Grid (USNG).

If your organization wants to optimize search results for addresses and places of interest, members with privileges to create content can use ArcGIS Online to create a new view of Esri World Geocoding Service to search only for specific types of locations within an area of interest. For example, you might create a locator view to limit search results to a particular country or area or to only return results that match a specific category such as street addresses or airports. Administrators can configure your organization to use your locator view when members perform geosearches.

Note:

Using Esri World Geocoding Service or views of this locator for batch geocoding (including publishing CSV or Excel files as hosted feature layers) consumes credits. Using locators for geosearch does not consume credits.

An organizational account with the premium content geocoding privilege is required to use locator views for batch geocoding.

In addition, if your organization needs to geocode addresses or places based on its own data, administrators can configure your organization to use its own locators running on ArcGIS Server, for geosearch, geocoding, or both. For example, an oil organization could add locators to search their oil wells, or a city could add a locator to find their fire hydrants.

If you add additional locators or locator views, members see an arrow in the geosearch box and can choose which locator or view to use.

Create a locator view

In ArcGIS Online, you can create a new view of Esri World Geocoding Service to search only for specific types of locations within an area of interest. For example, you may want a locator view to limit search results to particular areas, or you may want to enforce a specific level of precision when members perform batch geocoding of addresses.

To create and configure a locator view, do the following:

  1. Verify that you are signed in to your organization and have privileges to create content.
  2. From the My Content tab of the content page, click Create and click Locator (view).
  3. Specify a title, tags, and summary for the locator, and choose a folder in which to save the locator item.
  4. Click OK to create the locator view item.

    The item page for the locator view you created opens to the Settings tab.

  5. At the top of the Settings tab, click Locator (view) Settings.
  6. From the drop-down menu, select the type of location you want to find:
    • All Types—Choose this option if you don't want any restrictions on the types of locations returned.
    • Addresses, Postal Codes and Populated Places—Choose this option to limit results to streets, cities, states, or postal codes.
    • Coordinates—Choose this option to limit results to MGRS or a specific format for latitude, longitude.
    • Places of Interest—Choose this option to limit results to the names of places or landmarks.
  7. If you chose a category other than All Types in the previous step, further refine the location filter as needed by checking the boxes for the categories you want to search. For example:
    • If you chose Addresses, Postal Codes and Populated Places and only want Esri World Geocoding Service to return matches with street address or better, check the Point Address and Street Address boxes.
    • If you chose Coordinates and want to make latitude, longitude the accepted format for coordinates, check the Latitude, Longitude box.
    • If you chose Places of Interest and only want Esri World Geocoding Service to return matches to airports, check the Airport box.
  8. Specify where you want to search for locations as follows:
    • Anywhere in the world—Select this option to search for locations globally.
    • In selected countries—Select this option to search for locations in specific countries. Search or browse for the countries you want and select them one at a time until you've made all of your selections.
      Note:

      If your data contains a country value, search results will include any countries explicitly defined in the data. However, if countries are not explicitly defined in the data, results will be restricted to the country or countries you define using this locator view setting.

    • Within a specified area—Select this option to define the extent of an area to search for locations. Click Set Area and define the extent. Click OK when finished.
      Note:

      This option is supported for geosearch but not for batch geocoding. If you select this option, it will not be honored during batch geocoding operations.

  9. Click Save to save your locator view settings.
  10. Share your locator view with the public or with your organization.

    You must share the locator view to make it available to members of your organization or the public. Once it's shared, an administrator can add it to your organization's list of locators available for members to use for geosearch and batch geocoding.

    Note:

    Anonymous users will only have access to your locator view if you share it with the public. Locator views that are shared with the organization and included in your organization's list of locators are only accessible to organization members. Anonymous users will not be able to perform geosearch in any apps using locators that are only shared with the organization.

If your locator view is added to the organization's list of locators, it is recommended that you enable delete protection on the locator item to prevent accidental deletion. Once it's added, if you decide to delete your locator view in the future, your administrator must first remove it from the organization's list of locators.

Location types and categories

This section describes the location types, categories, and subcategories available when you configure your locator view.

Addresses, Postal Codes and Populated Places

When you choose Addresses, Postal Codes and Populated Places as the types of locations you want to find, you can further refine the locator view's search results by selecting the categories and subcategories you want to search. The following categories for Addresses, Postal Codes and Populated Places are available:

  • Address—Selecting this category automatically includes all of the address subcategories listed in the table below. This category limits search results to places that can be categorized as addresses while filtering out results for places of interest, postal codes, countries, or states. For more precise search results, choose any combination of address subcategories that meet your search requirements.
  • Postal—Selecting this category limits search results to any type of postal code match, including 5-digit and longer postal code formats. To limit search results to matches that are at least this precise, select both the Postal category and the top-level Address category.
  • Populated Place—Selecting this category automatically includes all of the populated place subcategories listed in the table below. This category limits search results to administrative divisions (or boundaries), such as cities, provinces, or countries, while filtering out results for addresses, places of interest, and postal codes. For more precise search results, choose any combination of populated place subcategories that meet your search requirements.

CategorySubcategoryDescription

Address

Point Address

A point address is a street address based on points that represent house and building locations. The point addresses represent the rooftop, or actual, location of the address. Typically, this is the most spatially accurate match level. Reference data contains address points with associated house numbers and street names, along with administrative divisions and optional postal code information—for example, 380 New York St, Redlands, CA, 92373.

A locator view configured with this subcategory limits results to these highly precise address points, which will allow you to avoid matching to any less precise address points if you require very high precision in matching.

Street Address

A street address is different from a point address in that the house number in a street address is interpolated from a range of numbers. Reference data contains street center lines with house number ranges, along with administrative divisions and optional postal code information—for example, 647 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, 94117.

A locator view configured with this subcategory limits results to an interpolated result. If you want to limit results to matches that are at least this precise, you should select both this subcategory and the Point Address category.

Intersection

An intersection is a street address consisting of a street intersection, along with city and optional state and postal code information—for example, Redlands Blvd & New York St, Redlands, CA, 92373.

A locator view configured with this subcategory limits results to intersections instead of complete addresses that exist on only one street.

Street Name

A street name is similar to a street address but without the house number. It contains street center lines with associated street names (no numbered address ranges), along with administrative divisions and optional postal code information—for example, W Olive Ave, Redlands, CA, 92373.

A locator view configured with this subcategory limits results to street names only. If you want to limit results to matches that are at least this precise, you should select this subcategory as well as the Point Address and Street Address subcategories.

Subaddress

A subaddress is a subset of a point address that represents a house or building subset location such as an apartment unit, floor, or individual building within a building complex—for example, 3836 Emerald Ave, Suite C, La Verne, CA, 91750.

A locator view configured with this subcategory limits results to subaddress points that include a house number, street name, and subaddress elements, along with administrative divisions and optional postal code information, while leaving out other types of address matches.

Postal

No subcategories

A locator view configured with the Postal category returns any type of postal code match, including 5-digit (for example, 92373) and other postal code formats. To limit results to matches that are at least this precise, select Postal and the top-level Address category.

Populated Place

Neighborhood

A neighborhood is a subsection of a city, smaller than a district and larger than a sector.

City

A locator configured with this subcategory limits results to cities only—for example, the city of Venice in Italy.

Subregion

A subregion is a subset of a state or province, such as a county in the United States—for example Adams County in the state of Wisconsin.

Region

A region is a subsection of a country, typically a state or province—for example, the province of Ontario in Canada.

Country

A country is the highest administrative division, also known as a nation—for example, Japan.

Sector

A sector is an administrative division larger than a block and smaller than a neighborhood, representing a subdivision of a neighborhood or district, or a collection of blocks.

Block

A block is the smallest administrative area for a country, representing a subdivision of a sector or neighborhood, or a named city block.

District

A district is an administrative division smaller than a city and larger than a neighborhood—for example, a municipal district.

Metro Area

A metropolitan (metro) area is an urban conglomeration consisting of a large city and the smaller cities surrounding it—for example, Greater Tokyo.

Territory

A territory is a large administrative division, smaller than a country and larger than a state or province—for example, the Yukon territory in Canada.

Zone

A zone is a category representing an unofficial administrative area that does not belong to a country, such as a disputed area or a grouping of other administrative zones—for example, Central America.

Coordinates

When you choose Coordinates as the types of locations you want to find, you can further refine the locator view's search results by selecting the categories you want to search. These are described in the table below.

CategoryDescription

Longitude, Latitude

This category represents geographic (x,y) coordinates. X refers to longitude (east-west coordinates), and y refers to latitude (north-south coordinates). Coordinates are entered and returned as x,y.

Latitude, Longitude

This category represents geographic (x,y) coordinates. X refers to longitude (east-west coordinates) and y refers to latitude (north-south coordinates). Coordinates are entered and returned as y,x.

MGRS

This category represents Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) coordinates.

USNG

This category represents the United States National Grid (USNG) coordinate system.

Places of Interest

When you choose Places of Interest as the types of locations you want to find, you can further refine the locator view's search results by selecting the categories you want to search. These are described in the table below.

CategoryDescription

Education

This category represents all types of educational institutions, including universities, primary schools, and vocational schools.

Food

This category represents restaurants of all types.

Shops and Service

This category represents all types of commercial or retail businesses.

Airport

This category represents airports, designated either by name or by airport code.

Requirements for configuring your own locators

ArcGIS Online supports locators running on ArcGIS Server 10.0 and later as locators for geosearch. When used for geosearch, the locators can be internal or external. Internal locators only work for geosearch when Map Viewer or other ArcGIS Online clients have access to those internal locators. For example, if your organization shares apps with the public, only users who have access to your internal locators will be able to find places with those apps.

ArcGIS Online also supports locators running on ArcGIS Server 10.1 and later as geocoders for batch geocoding. Unlike geosearch, external locators that are hosted outside your firewall are required for batch geocoding. This is because ArcGIS Online needs to access the geocodeAddresses operation on your locator to perform batch geocoding. If your external locator is secure, you must first create a secure service item in ArcGIS Online that stores the credentials required to access your locator. You can then configure the service URL provided by the secure service item as a locator.

When you configure your own locator for batch geocoding, you should provision sufficient compute resources for your locator. ArcGIS Online submits many concurrent requests when performing batch geocoding to improve performance, so your own locators should have sufficient compute resources to handle concurrent requests without severely affecting processing times for the requests.

ArcGIS Online supports single-field locators from ArcGIS Server 10.0 and later. Locators from ArcGIS Server 10.0 and internal locators can be used for geosearch but not to batch geocode. External locators from ArcGIS Server 10.1 or later are required to perform batch geocoding. Internal locators only work for geosearch when Map Viewer or other ArcGIS Online clients have access to those internal locators. For example, if your organization shares apps with the public, only users who have access to your internal locators will be able to find places with those apps. ArcGIS Online secure service items are not currently supported in ArcGIS Desktop. To batch geocode, your locator needs to be hosted outside your firewall so ArcGIS Online can access the geocodeAddresses operation on your locator to perform batch geocoding.