The state of ArcGIS geocoding

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06-06-2014 08:08 AM
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New Contributor III
I have spent the last few weeks trying to build a geocoder and I am hugely underwhelmed by the solutions provided by esri. The fact that such basic functionality such as geocoding to unit level is not available in the core product is quite frankly ridiculous. The white paper "Customizing Locators in ArcGIS 10" is such a badly written document that seems to purposefully make things difficult. Trawling through forum posts to find locator styles that might work is not a good use of anyone's time. This needs to be fixed. As I have seen mentioned elsewhere, esri want people to use their online geocoding service (SaaS) so intentionally make it difficult for users to build custom locators. Also the sporadic nature of replies in the geocoding forum from esri staff is quite baffling, they may answer a question that is unrelated to geocoding, but when it comes to answers that are in the correct forum they are absent. What are peoples thoughts?
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New Contributor II

I agree with you there are several mistakes in the "Customizing Locators in ArcGIS 10" document that have caused me to waste a significant amount of my company's time (and therefore, money) chasing down the wrong approach. For example:

  • Noise Characters are implemented, despite what the documentation claims. [src]
  • The regex examples given in the document include regex notation unsupported by ArcGIS 10 locators. [src]

I think there is a lot of power in the geocoding engine, but without documentation, it's almost completely useless unless you live in the US and can use the built-in locator styles. You're not the first person to ask for better documentation, but it doesn't seem that this issue is ever going to be addressed, frankly because no-one at ESRI seems to care too much about it.

I have wasted more time trying to get locators to work properly than I have on any other aspect of ArcGIS. This feature is vital, and the lack of proper documentation is astounding. In my opinion, this is the weakest aspect of the ArcGIS suite by a significant margin.

-David