If you find these tutorials useful and would like to link to them from your own pages,please contact the Drew Spatial Data Center Director, Dr. Catherine Riihimaki via email. You are invited to leave comments or ask questions in any of the Comment areas of each tutorial page.

Download Geocoding Tutorial Files

Download the zipped tutorial files at: Geocoding.zip Be aware that the zipped package is approximately 22MB, so please allow sufficient time and memory space on your computer for download.

  1. A dialog box will appear titled, "Opening Geocoding.zip." Save the file to your computer's Desktop.
  2. Navigate to the desktop of your computer and unzip the file. To do this, right click on the Geocoding.zip folder. (click image to enlarge)

  3. Choose Extract All. The Windows Extraction Wizard will appear.
  4. Click Next. Make sure that the field under "Files will be extracted to this directory" points to your computer's desktop. (click image to enlarge)

  5. If it does not point to your computer's Desktop, click the Browse button. The select a destination dialog box will appear.
  6. Choose the Desktop option that appears at the very top of the window in the dialog box. You may need to use the scroll bar on the right hand side of the window to see the Desktop Option. (click image to enlarge)

  7. Click OK.
  8. Once this field points to your computer's Desktop, click Next. Windows will unzip the file and tell you that the extraction is complete.
  9. Click the Finish button.

Start a New Map Project

  1. Open ArcMap

  2. The ArcMap Getting Started dialog box will appear
  3. Under the Table of Contents on the left side, choose New Maps My Templates Blank Map.(click on image to enlarge)

  4. Click OK. A blank Map Project will appear.

Add a Basemap to the Map Project

  1. Click the Add Data button

  2. Click Add Basemap.  The Add Basemap dialog box will appear.  This will allow you to add a default basemap from the ESRI servers.  
  3. Choose the Streets basemap.
  4. Click Add.  The Streets basemap will appear in your Map Project.  It may take a few seconds to process, since you are downloading a map from a remote server.
  5. Once the Streets map appears, click on the Zoom In tool.

  6. Click and drag with the Zoom In tool around the New York City area.

    Continue to use the Zoom In tool until you have the island of Manhattan between I-895 (North) and I-478 (South) centered in your viewing window.

Create a Spatial Bookmark

Zooming In adjusts the map's scale so that you can see features like streets and read the labels. To make sure that you can come back to the map at this scale, you can create a Spatial Bookmark.

  1. Click on the Bookmarks pull down menu at the top, left-hand side of the screen.
  2. Choose Create.
  3. In the Spatial Bookmark dialog box that appears, name your Spatial Bookmark "Manhattan."
  4. Use the Bookmark pull down menu – your "Manhattan" Bookmark should be there.

    Now any time you want, you can use the Bookmark tool to zoom out to the scale you created with the Manhattan bookmark. To erase or re-organize Bookmarks, use the Manage function.

Add Address Data to your Map Document

When Geocoding, you will need to have prepared address information that ArcMap can use to locate the addresses.  In this tutorial, there is prepared address information in the Geocoding tutorial file you downloaded onto the Desktop of your computer.  When Geocoding with custom address information, you will need to create your own Excel files with properly formatted address information to use.

  1. Click the Add Data button.
  2. Choose the Add Data... option.
  4. Use the Browse button to find the Geocoding folder on your desktop. 
  5. Inside the Geocoding folder, click on points_of_interest.csv
  6. Click Add
  7. The address data included in the points_of_interest.csv file is now added to your Map Project. 

To inspect the way that the address information is formatted in the .csv file:

Right-click on points_of_interest.csv in the Table of Contents
Choose the Open option.  The Table dialog box will appear (click on image to enlarge)

In this table, the street, city, and state information are all placed into different columns.  Zip code information is not included, but it can be helpful when trying to reconcile Unmatched and Tied addresses.

Geocoding Zip Codes with No Addresses

If you want to Geocode data using only zip codes, you can create columns in your .csv, or .xlsx file for STREET, CITY, and STATE to yield more accurate results.  Leave the values in these fields blank, and proceed with Geocoding according to the following directions. 

Adding these blank fields is not strictly necessary, but it is sometimes helpful.  Limited testing has shown that users get more accurate results with blank STREET, CITY and STATE fields when Geocoding using zip codes alone.

Geocode Addresses

  1. Locate the Geocode Toolbar in your Toolbar menu. 
  2. If you do not have the Geocoding Toolbar installed, click the Customize menu → Toolbars → Geocoding.  The Geocoding Toolbar should now appear for you in ArcMap. (click on image to enlarge)

  3. Find and click the Geocoding button located on the Geocoding Toolbar.(click on image to enlarge)

  4. The Choose an Address Locator dialog box will open.
  5. Choose the Address Locator you want to use.  If you do not have a custom Address Locator, or if you are not sure which Address Locator to use, for geocoding addresses in the U.S., click on either 10.0 US Streets Geocode Service (ArcGIS Online) or 10.0 North America Geocode Service (ArcGIS Online).  The Geocode Addresses: Locator... dialog box will appear. 
  6. Check the Address Input Fields to be sure that they match with the fields in the data you are using.  Under Output: Output shapefile or feature class, use the browse button to navigate to the file location or personal geodatabase you want the geocoding result to be saved to. 
  7. When all fields have been checked for accuracy, click OK.  The Geocoding Addresses... dialog box will appear and show the progress and results of the geocoding session.

Often there will be addresses that are left Tied or Unmatched. (click on image to enlarge)

  • Tied addresses have more than one possible candidate for a match in different locations
  • Unmatched addresses don't show any possible candidate for an address match in the Locator service.

Tied and Unmatched addresses can be reconciled by hand.

You should now have 3 elements inside your Layers list, Geocoding Result: Geocoding_Result, points_of_interest.csv and Streets basemap.  You should also see small dots on your Manhattan map that correlate the points of interest you just loaded from the points_of_interest.csv file.

Relabel the Geocoding Result

  1. Double-click on the layer name, Geocoding Result: Geocoding_Result_2. The Layer Properties dialog box will appear.
  2. Click on the General Tab.
  3. In the Layer Name field, rename the layer "NYC Points of Interest."
  4. Click OK. The new name will appear in the Layers list.

Matching Tied and Unmatched Addresses

If the Geocoding Addresses dialog box shows you Tied or Unmatched addresses, click the Rematch button.  This will open the Interactive Rematch dialog box.

To reconcile Tied or Unmatched addresses, begin by having the Interactive Rematch function display only the records you want to try to rematch.  To do this:

  1. Under Show results:, click on the arrow to open the pull down menu. (click on image to enlarge)

  2. Select the available option that will display only the results that you wish to try to reconcile.
  3. Select one record under Show results by clicking on the box in the row next to the FID of the record you wish to reconcile.  When it is properly selected, an arrow will appear in the box you clicked and the row of the record will be highlighted in cyan.  (click on image to enlarge)

  4. Under Candidates (the main part of the dialog box in the bottom, center), choose the Candidate for a match that you think is the correct match for the address you are trying to reconcile. If you aren't sure of the location of the Candidate, you can
    1. Click on the candidate to highlight it
    2. Right Click on the highlighted candidate. A pull down menu will appear.
    3. Click on the Flash option displayed in the pull down menu. This will briefly "flash" the location of the Candidate to display its location.  (click on image to enlarge)

  5. Inspect the address information to the left of the Candidate display section. Many Unmatched addresses occur because of mistyped information. If the address information is mistyped, simply make corrections in this area.
  6. Once you've determined which candidate to use, and/or you've corrected the address information, highlight the correct Candidate by clicking once.
  7. Click the Match button at the bottom, right-hand corner of the Interactive Rematch dialog box.
  8. Repeat until all Unmatched and Tied addresses have been reconciled.

Accessing the Interactive Rematch Dialog Box from a Previously Saved Geocoding Session

If you have a saved Map Project with Geocoded, Unmatched or Tied addresses that you want to re-Match, do the following to access the Interactive Rematch dialog box.:

  1. Open ArcMap
  2. Click on the Map Layer of the Geocoding Results in which you need to Rematch addresses.
  3. In the Geocoding Tools menu, click the ReviewRematch Addresses button. It looks like a mail box with two blue arrows revolving in a circle (the last button on the Geocoding Tool bar).  The Interactive Rematch dialog box will appear.
  4. Follow steps in the Matching Tied and Unmatched Addresses section

Labeling, Symbolizing, and Saving Your Geocoded Map

Label Your Points of Interest

  1. Right-click on the name NYC Points of Interest. Choose Properties at the bottom of the drop-down list. The Layer Properties dialog box will appear.
  2. Click on the Labels tab.
  3. Check the box at the top, left-hand corner next to Label features in this layer.
  4.  In the Text String area, click on the drop-down menu for the Label Field field.
  5. Scroll down the list until you find the attribute Point. Choose Point.  (click on image to enlarge)

  6. In the Text Symbol area, click Bold, and make the font size 9 point.
  7. Click Apply, and then OK.
  8. Right-click the NYC Points of Interest label in the Layers list.
  9. Choose Label Features.

The names of all the points of interest you geocoded now appear on the map.

Resymbolize Your Points of Interest

You can adjust the color and shape of the points of interest.

  1. Right-click on the small dot below the NYC Points of Interest label in the Layers list. The Symbol Selector dialog box will appear.
  2. Choose the type of Symbol, the Color, and the Size for your icons.

Save Your Map

Save your map to use for the next tutorial exercise.

  1. Go to the File pull down menu.
  2. Choose Document Properties
  3. In the Properties dialog box, at the bottom, right choose Data Source Options.
  4. In the Data Source Options dialog box, check the radio button next to Store relative path names to data sources. This insures that, no matter where you save your map document, you will be able to direct ArcMap to the proper location of the files that make up your map.
  5. Click OK in the Data Source Options dialog box.
  6. Click OK in the Properties dialog box.
  7. Go back to the File pull down menu and choose Save As….
  8. Save your map by navigating to I: →YourUserName→Desktop →Geocoding. In the File name: field, name your file GeocodingNYC. Don't worry if the .mxd file extension shown at right does not appear – the computer will add this automatically.
  9. In the Save as type: field, make sure that ArcMap Document (.mxd)* is the selected file type.
  10. Click OK.  (click on image to enlarge)

    Use the Zoom In tool to explore the points of interest on your map.
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