Spatial Analysis Lab (SAL)

Notes on Geocoding

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Geocoding (the process of spatially locating data (typically addresses) onto a map, requires a Reference Data source (typically a streets database with addresses). WWU has access to the City of Bellingham street data (with address ranges for each block), but not County or State data. Instead, we have access to ESRI's SteetMap USA data (a national database for geocoding and routing). For notes on using the StreetMap USA data, see below.


For notes on the geocoding process see: Geocoding_in_ArcGIS.pdf (stored in J:\saldata\ESRI_misc\esri_books)

    See also Geocoding_in_ArcGIS_Tutorial.pdf (stored in J:\saldata\ESRI_misc\esri_books\Tutorials)


For additoinal notes on using StreetMap USA see: StreetMap_Tutorial.pdf (stored in J:\saldata\ESRI_misc\esri_books\Tutorials)




Note so Using StreetMap USA Street Data for Geocoding


For Geocoding your need:

        1. Reference Data (typically a streets database with addresses)

        2. An Address Locator (a setup file that tells the GIS how to connect with the Reference Data)

        3. A address or list of addresses to geocode



1. Street Reference Data

The StreetMap USA data (provided from ESRI in their .sdc file format) does not seem to work as reference data for the standard Geocoding process – at least not yet, in our lab… Instead, the data needs to be exported to a shapefile (or geodatabase) and then used.


Two exports have been already performed for the more common geocoding tasks (stored in the J:\saldata\data_esri\StreetMap_USA\WWU_EXPORT folder):




If you need some other area use the Export Data tools from ArcMap:

  • Load Streets.sdc from J:\saldata\data_ESRI\StreetMap USA\Streets
  • Opt: load J:\saldata\data_ESRI\StreetMap USA\stmap\states.sdc for context
  • Zoom to area of interest
  • Select desired streets
  • Export to shapefile (rt-click on Table of Contents / Data / Export Data)



2. Address Locator

To use the exported StreetMap data for Geocoding, you first need to create an Address Locator in ArcCatalog:

  • Open ArcCatalog
  • Open Addresss Locators (towards the bottom of the list of folder connections)
  • Double click on Create New Address Locator
  • For Choose an address locator style, choose

US Streets (File)

  • OK
  • Enter a Name for your Address Locator
  • For Reference data, browse to your exported streets shapefile
  • Check the field associations (left = left, from = from, etc)
  • For a first run, accept the other defaults (can be tweaked later)
  • OK
  • Select your new Address Locator, right-click, Copy
  • Browse to C:\temp, Paste


Remember to save a copy of your shapefile and/or Address Locator


3. Geocoding

For details on the actual Geocoding Process see Geocoding_in_ArcGIS.pdf (stored in J:\saldata\ESRI_misc\esri_books) - Esp. Ch. 6: Geocoding a table of addresses




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