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FAQ: What are some best practices for batch geocoding addresses using the ArcGIS Online World Geocoding Service?

Question

What are some best practices for batch geocoding addresses using the ArcGIS Online World Geocoding Service?

Answer

The following list of best practices for batch geocoding addresses helps increase accuracy in matching addresses correctly, while decreasing mismatched addresses which consume credits in ArcGIS Online for Organizations.


1. Preparing the data (addresses) for batch geocoding

It is best to match the address locator style used in the batch geocoding process with the type of geometry in the reference data and the format of the data being parsed in the address locator. This allows the addresses to be entered in fields which correspond to the street, city, region, or state in the table. This improves accuracy in matching addresses.

The following ArcGIS Resources document lists the address locator styles provided with ArcGIS: Commonly used address locator styles.

When using an Excel table, ensure it is formatted to be used in ArcGIS. More information regarding this can be found in the following ArcGIS Resources document: Formatting a table in Microsoft Excel for use in ArcGIS.

2. Check Addresses for correct spelling and character restrictions

The geocoding process may fail if there is incorrect spelling or the use of restricted characters in the field names or addresses. Be sure to remove any special characters in the address table before parsing it to the address locator.

If addresses are outside of the U.S and require localization, click the following ArcGIS Developer link: Localized input field names.

3. Geocode coverage and category filtering

Use the Geocode coverage and Category filtering options to further improve the search results by limiting matches based on specific place types or address levels. This ensures false positives (which consume credits) are avoided, while speeding up the search process.


For successful geocoding, follow the steps outlined in the ArcGIS Resources document: The geocoding workflow.

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