ArcGIS Developer

ArcGIS API for Python

geocoding module

A Brief Introduction to Geocoding

In a GIS, geocoding is the process of transforming various place name descriptions into a location on the earth's surface. For successful geocoding operations there are necesary component technologies that must meet certain requirements before a place description can be properly located. The ArcGIS Desktop Geocoding Documentation explains the necessary components to successfully complete geocoding operations. It also outlines Essential geocoding vocabulary to help you succeed in using the geocoding classes and functions in the ArcGIS API for Python geocoding module.

Geocoding Module Types and Functions

Your GIS provides access to The World Geocoding Service by default. The geocoding module provides a Geocoder class to interact with that service. You can also construct geocoder objects from your GIS's custom geocoding service items or from the url to a geocoding service. In addition, the get_geocoders function returns a list of geocoders accessible in your GIS. Geocoders have numerous properties accessed through These properties specify the types of information the geocode function accepts as input, and the structure of the outputs when performing geocoding operations using a particular geocoder. A geocoder's properties also define any limits or requirements established by the underlying locator.

Place name descriptions can be located one at a time, or in a batch. The geocode function locates one description at a time (see findAddressCandidates documentation for reference), while the batch_geocode function locates multiple descriptions (see geocodeAddresses documentation for reference). The batch function consumes credits, so it's important to discern how you will perform geocoding.

The reverse_geocode function outputs the address at a particular location on the earth. The suggest function returns matches for partial descriptions and underpins typeahead style suggestions in many client applications. The underlying service determines whether a geocoder supports this function. See the Create Address Locator help document for further details.

Refer to the remaining sections of this guide for examples of how to use the geocode function and GIS geocoders to locate descriptions and then visualize or analyze the outputs.

Getting familiar with the geocoding module

Utilizing different geocoding methods

Feedback on this topic?