I've inherited some scripts that (to my mind) "abuse" geocoding to position points based on a LocationID field. As the name implies, this field is a unique ID that really doesn't need to be "fuzzy matched"; either it matches or it doesn't. Besides that, using the geocoding tools for this process is painfully slow; some 5 minutes or more to geocode less than 100k records.

I've tried using joins, with not much luck:

  • Joining the tables to the reference points with AddJoin: with "KEEP_ALL" results in all the points, some with no data; with "KEEP_COMMON" results in only matching points, but loses data where multiple rows have the same LocationID.

  • Joining the points to the tables with AddJoin results in tables, not point features.

  • Joining either way with JoinField is even slower than geocoding, and has the same issues as above.

  • None of these methods produces a new feature class as geocoding does; that takes a CopyFeatures either before or after the join. (SpatialJoin does, but it's out of the question since one input is a table....)

So, is there any faster way to do this using GP tools – if not, that might explain why it is the way it is – or should I look to a lower-level solution (arcpy.da or the like)?

(To clarify, the output I'm looking for is a point feature class: each point has data from a row in the input table, but there may be multiple points in a given location.)

1 Answer 1


It is about transferring points coordinates to table. You might use this process:

  1. Add X and Y fields to points' table
  2. Join above to TABLE using common field. Calculate similar field e.g. [XN]=Points!X
  3. Export joined table to new one.
  4. Create XY event table from output at step 4. Based on your Q you'll end up with duplicate points in some cases.
  • In fact the point features we're using to geocode come from a generated event layer, so maybe I could just have a separate join-and-make-event-layer for each table? And yes, I expect duplicate points, but with different data. Feb 23, 2015 at 20:41
  • Yes, it is likely you've got XY fields already in your point layer. Join by attribute is always a pain in ArcGIS with real life datasets, be ready to wait..
    – FelixIP
    Feb 23, 2015 at 22:12
  • Well, it does work, so I'm accepting the answer. Unfortunately it's really not much faster -- that join is killing me -- so I will stick with geocoding for now and just try tweaking the parameters some more. Feb 27, 2015 at 19:47
  • As I mentioned f.calculator IS pain. arcpy.da cursor is far more superior, you start with creating dictionary on parent, then iterate through childs record with update cursor on x and y field. Search site
    – FelixIP
    Feb 27, 2015 at 20:53
  • So you mean to cache the coordinates in Python instead of using a "true" join? Can't believe that didn't even occur to me -- I'm already using a similar technique in another tool. sigh Thanks again, I'll try it when I'm back in office. Mar 1, 2015 at 0:51

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