Using ArcGIS Desktop, it is relatively straightforward to customize locator styles by editing the corresponding CLS files. We are struggling to do the same in a server environment.

We have created a locator in ArcSDE (9.3.1) for Oracle 11g and a corresponding Geocode Service in ArcGIS Server (9.3.1). How do we customize locator styles in this environment?

  • Having worked with Esri on geocoding in ArcGIS Server. Two tips, upgrade to at least 10.0 if you can -- much faster, and don't put the locator in a database -- much faster. Just put it in a directory or shared directory if you have multiple SOC machines. The locator is already its own binary, indexed database. Easier to modify as well.
    – awesomo
    Nov 14, 2012 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


Creating the address locator

The address locator is the main tool for geocoding in ArcGIS and contains all the data necessary to perform address matching. You can use ArcCatalog to create an address locator. For step-by-step instructions, refer to the topic Creating an Address Locator in the ArcGIS Desktop Help.

The locator you create should reside in a shared network directory so that all server object container (SOC) machines can access it. Additionally, the SOC account must have appropriate permissions to access the directory where the locator is stored. Publishing the address locator

After you have created and saved the address locator, you can publish it as a geocode service by following the steps in Publishing a GIS resource to the server. When prompted to specify the resource, browse to the locator you want to publish. Valid formats are locator files (.loc), ArcView 3 address locators (.mxs), ArcSDE address locators, personal geodatabase locators, and file geodatabase locators. To publish a locator in a File or Personal Geodatabase, type the path to the Geodatabase and click OK. Click the Locator drop-down arrow and click on a Locator name. To publish a locator using an ArcSDE Connection file (.sde), type the path to the ArcSDE connection file and click OK. Click the Locator drop-down arrow and click on a Locator name.

Tip: If you're using Manager to publish an ArcSDE locator, first copy your ArcSDE connection file into a shared folder to which all SOC machines have access. The ArcSDE connection file is created when you add a spatial database connection in ArcCatalog. It contains all the connection information to the geodatabase. Its extension is .sde and the file is stored by default in your profile directory (often C:\Documents and Settings\myUserName\Application Data\ESRI\ArcCatalog). Once you've copied the .sde file into a shared directory, you will then be able to browse to the locator in Manager. Using the geocode service

The Web ADF contains a Find Address task that you can add to a Web application to help users locate an address. The Find Address task makes use of a geocode service that you provide. You first add the Find Address task to your application, then select the geocode service that the task will use. Manager and all supported IDEs allow for the configuration of the Find Address task.

If you're not using a geocode service as part of the Find Address task, you will need to consume it programmatically. The application needs to have an interface that receives addresses as inputs and returns coordinates or maps of geocoded points to the users. Additionally, the application may perform some type of geoprocessing using the geocoded addresses. For example, you may want to select and clip features based on their proximity to a geocoded point.

The Web ADF, ArcGIS Server API, and ArcGIS JavaScript APIs provide controls and classes for consuming geocode services. You can find documentation and samples for consuming geocode services in the Developer Help.


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To publish an address locator to ArcGIS Server, open ArcCatalog and navigate to the address locator that is to be published. Right-click on the address locator and click Publish to ArcGIS Server... on the context menu. Publish address locators to ArcGIS Server

Developers who have customized address locators and geocode rule bases will be required to install the geocoding customization files in ArcGIS Desktop, and use them to create custom address locators in any workspaces including an ArcSDE geodatabase with ArcGIS 10. Sdelocator and sdegcdrules commands for installing custom files into ArcSDE will no longer be available and are not needed. Customized address locator styles can be upgraded to ArcGIS 10 and copied into the locators folder under the Desktop 10 installation folder.


  • sdegcdrules command was the key.
    – nw1
    Mar 31, 2011 at 15:13

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