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GIS & Geospatial Technologies: Geocoding

This guide provides GIS tutorials, data, books, course-specific GIS guides and other geospatial related information that might be of interest.

What is Geocoding

Geocoding is the process of transforming a description of a location—such as a pair of coordinates, an address, or a name of a place—to a location on the earth's surface. You can geocode by entering one location description at a time or by providing many of them at once in a table. The resulting locations are output as geographic features with attributes, which can be used for mapping or spatial analysis. With geocoded addresses, you can spatially display the address locations and begin to recognize patterns within the information.  

Geocoding Resources and Tools


ArcGIS Online World Geocoding Service Global coverage, no limit but see below for information based on the number of addresses. Accessible through your SSO account to the UCSD ArcGIS Online organization. You can also access this through ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, or the browser-based ArcGIS Online. 

Batchgeo: Free online tool to do basic geocoding. Once your information is geocoded, you can then use it for analysis or visualization in a GIS. The site also has a tool to calculate distances to multiple addresses from a single point.

GeocodioUS and Mexico, browser based, 2,500 addresses per month, must create account. Once your information is geocoded, you can then use it for analysis or visualization in a GIS. 

Texas A&M Geoservices:  US only, browser based, 2,500 addresses, then must purchase plan, must create account.


ArcGIS Pro / ArcGIS Map

ArcGIS Online World Geocoding ServiceGlobal coverage, no limit but see below for information based on the number of addresses. Accessible through your SSO account to the UCSD ArcGIS Online organization

Esri Streetmap Premium: North America only. Some helpful vocabulary for using Esri Streetmap Premium locators. This can be accessed from the computers in the Data & GIS Lab in the Library. The Library is also setting up the Enterprise access. If you need to access the Enterprise option, contact the GIS Librarian


MMQGIS Plugin:  The MMQGIS plugin lets users find the coordinates from a selection of addresses stored in a tab delimited txt file or a csv file. To use it, download the plugin first. Then select the “Geocode CSV with Google / OpenStreetMap” feature found under MMQGIS-->Geocode.


Geocoder: Simple and consistent geocoding library written in Python.

125,000 addresses or less

If you have a 125,000 addresses or less, you can use the ArcGIS Online World Geocoding tools. ArcGIS Online World Geocoding Tools use credits, which are allocated to you as a member of the UC San Diego ArcGIS Online organization. You are provided a default number of 5,000 credits. You can calculate how many credits you will use to geocode using the credits overview. If you need additional credits, reach out to the UCSD Esri Site License manager or GIS Librarian

If you have sensitive data with HIPA or PII information, you will want to use one of the other options.

more than 125,000 addresses

If you have more than 125,000 addresses you can request more credits or you can use local geocoding tools.

  1. You can use the computers in the Data & GIS Lab or Virtual Machines to geocode addresses locally. 
  2. You can use your personal machine. 

Data & GIS Lab

  1. Open and log on to ArcGIS Pro
  2. Add your table to ArcGIS Pro
  3. Right click your table, and select menu option "Geocode Addresses"
  4. Go to the tool.
  5. Input Locator:  browse to the folder on the Data & GIS Lab computers ONLY:  C://EsriStreetMap Premium/NewLocators (see note about classic locators)
    ​You may also browse the Classic Locators folder.

What is the difference between the new locators and the classic locators?

more than 2 million addresses

If you have a list of 2 million addresses or greater, reach out to the GIS Librarian to discuss options about using Library resources.