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To geocode with ArcGIS for Desktop, you need an address locator. There are few ways to obtain the address locator that covers your study area:
Esri address locators
We can provide you access to the following Esri StreetMap data.
Esri StreetMap Premium for North America and Pacific Asia 2019. It requires to authorize the data license.
Esri StreetMap 2013 - if your addresses are older than 2013, this is a good option because it does not require a data license authorization.
To get access to the data, please answer this form, and we will contact you to establish a workflow to make the data available. Data licenses are limited in number, therefore we will provide access for the duration of your geocoding task.
Government or your own address locator
Inquire to the GIS department of the municipalities included in your study area. Hopefully, they already created an up-to-date address locator that can share with you.
If you have the street or address data, create your own address locator. Check out this guide to determine if that is a feasible option for you.
Texas A&M GeoServices have been supporting researchers with free credits to run geocoding for noncommercial research projects. The initial credit quota when you open an account includes a small number of credits. Contact their team and inquire if they would kindly increase your credit quota, explaining you are a researcher. This is based on their decision, therefore it is advisable to explain why it is relevant to get their support.
Make sure to read about their privacy, security and terms to determine if it is aligned with your project requirements.
Geocoding of Street Addresses and Administrative Boundary Levels
The foundations of modern vector mapping models, Dual Independent Map Encoding (DIME), was created in New Haven, CT in 1967 by a team of Yale graduates and students, led by Donald Cooke (Yale, '67), for the New Haven Census Use Study. The model they created encoded address ranges into street network files that allowed the use of the "percent along" geocoding algorithm that is still in use, today, by map platforms such as Google Maps and MapQuest. New Haven, CT was the first city on Earth with a topologically integrated, geocodable, streets network database.
This brief talk by Don Cooke describes the history of the DIME files and later development of the TIGER line files for the U.S. Census Bureau.
2012 Esri International User Conference Tech Session. A vast amount of spatial data exists in non-spatial databases in the form of addresses, often in local languages. Geocoding is the process of creating spatial locations from these addresses. This session will introduce the basic geocoding functionality in ArcGIS and help you with a quick-start experience in learning the basic techniques for creating address locators and geocoding with ArcGIS 10
API key: required for Premier (do NOT use a key for the free version)
Key signup: https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/business/
Quota: 2,500 requests/day, 100,000 with Google Maps API Premier
SSL support: yes
Languages: ar, eu, bg, bn, ca, cs, da, de, el, en, en-AU, en-GB, es, eu, fa, fi, fil, fr, gl, gu, hi, hr, hu, id, it, iw, ja, kn, ko, lt, lv, ml, mr, nl, no, pl, pt, pt-BR, pt-PT, ro, ru, sk, sl, sr, sv, tl, ta, te, th, tr, uk, vi, zh-CN, zh-TW (see http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p9pdwsai2hDMsLkXsoM05KQ&gid=1)
Geocoding Services and Software to Determine Coordinates and Uncertainties in Text-based Localities
Simply put, Geocoding is the process of assigning a set of coordinate pairs (combined to create points, lines or polygons) that describe the locality of some object or phenomenon. The most familiar form of geocoding is performed when you enter an address into Google Maps, MapQuest or other online street mapping platform, and a point on a map is returned to you. However, street addresses are not the only locality types that are subject to the geocoding process. Localities referring to various administrative boundary levels (state, district, province, postal code) and even localities with varying levels of specificity (directional offsets from known locations, distances along paths, etc...) can be geocoded and, importantly, qualified with some level of geometric uncertainty. In the research context, geocoding is generally done as a batch process, though it is generally an iterative one, requiring some manual quality control and fine-tuning for best results. The resources and tools listed here are those that I have found useful in various types of geocoding processes.
A collection of geocoding and GIS links relevant to the process of geocoding, with particular emphasis upon the process of geocoding localities that refer to specimens held within Natural History Collections. The resources are also quite useful for the geocoding and calculation of uncertainties associated with localities that refer to objects and phenomena in many other disciplines.
The metadata standard adopted for the recording of information about Natural History and Biodiversity collections. Of particular interest to those involved in larger, and ongoing, geocoding projects are the "Location Terms." The DarwinCore location schema represents an excellent framework for recording location and associated uncertainties in nearly any terrestrial discipline.
An fantastic resource, providing guidelines for geocoding of 25 distinct types of locality (Named Place, Offset at Heading, Between Two Places, etc...). Specific procedures for determining the Extent and associated Error of textual locality descriptions.
A platform for georeferencing textual locality descriptions (all those listed in the HerpNET "Dummies" guide) developed and maintained by the Tulane University Museum of Natural History. Multiple platforms, including a Web Client, Embeddable Web Client, Desktop Client, Java Client and numerous web services against which custom applications can be developed. Also provided a collaborative interface that allows management of team geocoding.
A worldwide gazetteer maintained by The Getty Museum. Particularly useful for finding alternative, vernacular and old toponyms. Geographic coordinates are not provided for all records, but can be useful for associating historic placenames ("New Amsterdam, US," etc...) with their modern analogues, which can then be geocoded using various other gazetteers.
A gazetteer which provides numerous URL-based geocoding/reverse-geocoding services. Most powerful when combined with tools such as Google Refine (http://code.google.com/p/google-refine/) for the purpose of batch geocoding. Provides the most liberal quotas for free batch geocoding (2,000 per hour, 30,000 per day) and is Creative Commons licensed.
The Geographic Names Server is the official repository of standard spellings of all foreign place names, sanctioned by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The database also contains variant spellings (cross-references), which are useful for finding purposes. We are starting to hold the native script spellings of these names. All the geographic features in the database contain information about location, administrative division, and quality. The database can be used for a variety of purposes, including establishing official spellings of foreign place names, cartography, GIS, GEOINT, and finding places.
Worldwide, browsing (no search) gazetteer for cities and towns. Great for hard to find localities,especially outside the US. Datum: WGS84 Degrees minutes (seconds), based on NIMA. Provides hierarchy, alternative names, topo maps, altitude, weather information and location of nearby towns in nautical miles (nm). Use Georef. Calc. to translate nm into kilometers.