Migrating address locators created with ArcGIS prior to version 10

Address locators created with ArcGIS 10 adopt a new address parsing, indexing, searching, and matching technology. For best practices, it is recommended that you re-create the address locators using the current version of ArcGIS. You can create locators using geoprocessing tools or the Catalog window in ArcMap or ArcCatalog. See the following topics to learn about how to create locators:

Creating an address locator

Creating a composite address locator

ArcGIS 10 locators are different than those from ArcGIS 9.3.1 or older versions. The following table highlights the major differences.

Locators created in ArcGIS 10

Locators created in ArcGIS 9.2 to 9.3.1

Single line address input does not require comma delimiters.

Example: 18 Orchard St Madison WI 53715.

Single line address input requires comma delimiters for zone fields.

Example: 18 Orchard St., Madison, WI, 53715.

Locations can be searched based on a spatial offset of the address.

Example: 500 feet NW from 150 Linden Ave NE.

Not supported.

All locators support searching locations by latitude and longitude coordinates in various formats.

Not supported.

Flexible search and capability of handling names using the Single Field or Gazetteer locator style.

Limited searching capability and handling of names.

Geocoding does not require address standardization.

Geocoding requires address standardization.

Better geocoding results, as candidates can be found based on multiple name and type aliases and spelling variations. For example, candidates with the name 1st or First are returned and matched equally.

Data requires standardization.

Locators can be created with or without zone information using the same locator style.

Different locator styles are used to create locators that support zones and others to exclude zones.

Missing address components are not penalized.

Missing address components reduce match rates.

Multiple address grammars may exist in a single locator that supports various address formats.

Limitations exist in the geocoding rule bases in handling special address formats.

Each locator style is specified in a single XML file. All geocoding properties and address parsing grammars are defined in the file.

Each locator style refers to multiple files and geocoding rule bases. Locator definition includes a compiled binary file you cannot edit.

Address locators created with ArcGIS prior to version 10 are supported in ArcGIS 10. This means you can continue to geocode against older versions of address locators in ArcGIS 10, and you can continue to rebuild the older locators while maintaining their compatibility with the prior version of ArcGIS. However, features that are available with locators created in version 10, such as finding locations based on latitudeā€“longitude coordinates or a spatial offset from a street address, are not supported with locators from previous versions. The single-line address search, which is available on the Geocoding toolbar at ArcGIS 10, works with address locators that were created with prior versions of ArcGIS, but the older locators require comma delimiters in the address string, while version 10 locators accept input strings with or without comma delimiters. The following two addresses demonstrate the formatting difference:

See the Finding an address topic for more information about the types of address you can search for.

In addition, there are differences in the contents of the locator file. All geocoding properties and address parsing grammars for an ArcGIS 10 locator style are exposed in a single XML file. The address locator style files can be found in the Locators folder under the ArcGIS installation directory.


The geocode folder under the ArcGIS installation directory is available only for the purpose of supporting locators created with ArcGIS 9.3.1 or older. It is not used with ArcGIS 10 locators.

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