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Let's say I have 5 shapefiles, and I want to use them as a single address locator via the ILocator interface. What would you recommend?

1) Merge the shapefiles into a single shapefile then convert to a feature class?
2) Merge multiple feature classes into a single feature class?
3) Get multiple locators and merge them into a single locator?

C# VS2010 ArcEngine 10.

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If I was doing it I would create an empty feature class with the fields that I need for the locator, then load the shapefiles into and set up the locator on the combined feature class. I would also add a field to the new feature class to code each of the separate feature classes by county, region or whatever. Then when it is time to update the data, I can delete the features with the corresponding code and load the new dataset.

It may not work for your scenario, but I like if because I can set up a few geoprocessing tasks to take care of deleting and uploading new data, and I only have one address locator to worry about

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If it were me, I would create multiple locators and write my code to consume them that way. Then, if one of the locators goes offline, the code can manage with the remaining one(s).

However, that's coming from a "web mapping" scenario where we're at the mercy of whatever service is being provided, and we can't always be sure it will be up and running. If you're in a controlled environment, combining datasets and merging into one may be a better solution.

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This might be what I was looking for, but I haven't tested it yet. I will update and let you know how it goes whenever I get around to it.

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