Composite Locator Not Properly Locating Address Points

08-12-2016 07:22 AM
Regular Contributor

We have a composite geocode service that is not properly locating address points.  If I enter an address within the search bar of one of our apps built with WAB, the address will show in the suggestions, but if I click on it, I will be taken to somewhere that is not the address that's listed.  And, in some cases, the address is not listed at all in the suggestions box.

There are other locators within the composite locator that are working, for example, one of the locators allows the ability to search by parcel number.  This locator is working fine.  Another allows you to search by place name, and again, this one is working fine.

I have already deleted and re-created the address point locator (with Suggestions enabled), and re-published the service.  Still getting the same results where addresses are not locating properly.

System Details

  • ArcGIS Desktop 10.3
  • ArcGIS Server 10.3
  • Address locator style = US Single House with Subaddress

Below are a couple sample searches.  The first 2 screenshots show that when searching for an address, it appears that the suggestion is finding the address, but will take you to the wrong location.  The second 2 screenshots demonstrate that the locator using place locations is working.

Any ideas what the issue is with our address locator and why it is not working properly?...why it's not locating at the correct location?

1) Searching for 1801 Whispering Pines Ct SW Cedar Rapids IA --- shows in the suggestions box.

2) Search result when I click on the suggestion.  I'm taken to 1720 Whispering Pines Ct SW.

1) Searching for Linn County Community Services Building --- shows in suggestions box.  Search fails.

2) Search result takes me to the correct location.  Search works.

Tags (1)
72 Replies
New Contributor III

I'm very happy to hear that.  Geocoders have gone downhill since 9.2.. we need them to be as accurate as possible in a lot of cases - including down to the unit.  I haven't dug much but they worked with a separate unit field in 9.2, and then units needed to be included in the full address field after a #, with no spaces at 10.1... and now I haven't dug much but have heard that there won't be any way to geocode down to the unit since our upgrade to 10.5?!  With new "features" I would hope good old features should be kept as well.

Esri Regular Contributor


ArcMap 10.5 includes the US Address - Single House Subaddress locator style that will allow you to create a locator using points or polygons as the reference data and can reference subunits in a single field or two fields for unit type & unit number. At version 10.1, there was a customized locator style floating around on the forums that supported units, but it was not one that was out of the box. An out of the box style for geocoding subaddresses was introduced at version 10.3 and since that version improvements have been made to the style that affect performance and standardization.

Frequent Contributor

Shana Britt and all, I am contemplating replacing the Suggest array with the Results array in the Web App Builder's Search widget. 

I still have to say, it makes no sense to suggest things that don't exist. In fact... when I did 3000 Wall St it happily listed it in suggestions, when in reality it doesn't go past the 100's.  That's extremely confusing and frustrating to end users. Why 'suggest' things that are out of range, completely? In fact, I'd think Suggest would be a complete mirror of Results. In fact it should be the same array. Nothing should be suggested that doesn't exist. Right?  This is the first thing most users do on a Esri viewer:  search an address.     I mean I guess either I fix it, or simply turn off Suggest. But auto complete is really nice. I wish it worked correctly.

And I tested and it is is still an issue... on 10.6.1. Ghost addresses out of range from both centerlines and non-existent in the point layer dataset on my 10.61 AWS.    Also happens with units when I created a test unit locator.  Locators/MADLocator_WithUnits (GeocodeServer)  The one we currently use in production and I was planning to use was just the regular locator with number and street.  (and direction prefix of course). Locators/MADLocator (GeocodeServer)  It is US Single House Address.  Style: 10.6. 

Shana I read your reply farther up the thread on subaddresses. Now I can understand with units if you search #A Bay St or something and 100 #A Bay St comes up. That makes sense. Because it would (one hopes) only suggest real address with real numbers on that street. But when you search numbers out of bounds, Suggest should not give fake ghost results in the dropdown. At least, that is what you would think...  So is its current problematic behavior of ghost Suggestions by design or a bug? If a bug, can we expect a fix for 10.6.x?

0 Kudos
Esri Regular Contributor

We have addressed some of the problems with suggestions from geocode services in ArcGIS Pro 2.3. There is a new tool called Create Locator that will create locators that:

  • Return suggestions with verified house numbers in local locators and geocode services
  • Support suggestions when used locally in ArcGIS Pro
  • Include enhancements to reverse geocoding to return matches to the most relevant feature (point or polygon) near your location, which may be  an address, point of interest, or postal code.


Pro 2.3 will ship with support to build locators with the Create Locator tool for US, US territories, and Canada.  We will be working on releasing additional countries in upcoming releases. If you have access to ArcGIS Pro 2.3 beta, you can test out creating locators with the Create Locator tool and testing out the suggestion in ArcGIS Pro or as a service.


The installed help is included with the beta where the Geocoding help has been update, which can be found under Help > Data > Geocoding . The  "Build your own locator" book is geared towards the Create Locator tool, which has its own help topic under Tool Reference > ArcGIS Pro tool reference > Geocoding toolbox.


The locators created with the Create Locator tool in ArcGIS Pro cannot be added to ArcMap.

If you publish the locator to ArcGIS Server or Portal (federated) you can access the service in ArcMap through an ArcGIS Server connection in ArcMap/ArcCatalog.


Share to federated portal:

Share to ArcGIS Server via Python (Pro): Requires a publisher or administrator ArcGIS Server Connection file that is created in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro.

Frequent Contributor

Shana Britt, awesome! That sounds perfect.  (return suggestions with verified house numbers in local locators and geocode services) - so this means the Suggestions will not show ghost addresses out of range anymore?

I have ArcGIS Server 10.5.1 - Will this allow the new locator with Suggestions that work correctly to be shared as a service, to use in viewers?  It is ok if it needs Pro so long as I can publish straight to Server 10.5.1 &10.6.1, without Portal.  Since Pro 2.3 will be able to publish to Server, does this mean once we get Pro 2.3 we can create this new type of Locator with Suggestions without ghosts again on our 10.5.1 server?

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Frequent Contributor

As a feature enhancement request - can the ability to have Locators be modified by URL parameters be added?  For example, tack on &Suggest=False or something, to disable Suggestions.

Reason I ask, is that I disabled all Suggestions on my Locators for use in the WAB Search widget. However, the Esri Placename locator I had to remove. It would have been very useful to locate businesses etc. But because it has Suggest and no easy way to disable it, I had to remove it, because it was popping up the Suggestion results still, because the WAB Search defaults to search ALL locators.  (because the other locators I had disabled Suggest because of the ghost address bug)

It would be nice to tell WAB to exclude one or more results from the list, as well. Like, tell WAB not to include the Esri locator in the dropdown Search results, unless the user explicitly checks it off. (have checkbox next to each one, the programmer can set whether it searches one, some, or all, by default)  I will outline this idea in a future post better with a mocked up screenshot. 

So the idea for Locators, would be to modify some of those service behaviors of a locator via URL parameters. And thus then expose that as a checkbox in WAB as well so you can could Suggest as True or False.

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Esri Regular Contributor

What you have described sounds like feedback the WAB group would want to hear about, perhaps when you submit your full post  you can tag "geocoding" or "locators" in the post.

Frequent Contributor

Thanks Shana! The new capability sounds perfect. Thanks very much for tracking this and keeping us all in the loop.

The URL parameter would be exposed in the WAB gui. This would be a convenience for people that do not have access to the code i.e. Online WAB. 

The core of the feature enhancement is the URL parameter to enable such a capability, to disable Suggest on a Locator. With that, I could use the URL with that parameter appended to it, and just edit my json config manually in WAB DE immediately. And then in the long term it would be a nice GUI option in WAB, after it is possible as a REST parameter. Shana Britt Kory Kramer‌ I created the idea. Locators: add URL parameters. For example, extent, Suggest, others Just realized the parameter idea would be useful for limiting extent as well.

Have a nice New Year everyone!

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Esri Regular Contributor


That is correct, you will not see invalid or "ghost' house numbers returned in the suggestions locally in ArcGIS Pro or as a service.

The locators that are created with the Create Locator tool in Pro 2.3 should only be published to ArcGIS Server 10.6.1 or later in order to get the best geocoding experience with the locators. The locators are not supported for ArcGIS Server 10.5.1. If you were to publish to ArcGIS Server 10.6.1, you could add the service as an item or utility service to 10.5.1 Portal.

You will need to use the Python method I mentioned above to publish from ArcGIS Pro directly to ArcGIS Server, this can be done in the Python Window, a standalone script, or a script tool.

Esri Contributor

Hi, I am starting to testing new locators within France, and I internally we I will have some exchange with Esri Inc. However, I would like here to share one thought. Up to know - for me - it was great that suggestion was proposing any house number. Up to know I had two locators - Point adresses , without suggestion enabled, but sitting above the third locator - represented by StreetAdresses, in which suggestion was enabled. Therefore when searching the address, suggestion was based on StreetAddres, but if that address existed in Point addresses- the match location was based on Point address locator. I did not care if that number exists or not. It it did not - it would match on StreetName level. All I had to be aware that my StreetsAddress dataset contains ALL the variations of street names.

That way I was gaining that only 1 locator had suggestion....

It is too early for me to decide, whether new approach is better... but I guess I will soon find it out.