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OOMPH Library Resources: PHW 272A, 277, 272C Geographic Information Systems: Geocoding/Geolocation

Library Guide for resources for the OOMPH GIS courses

Geocoding Tools & Resources

Overview of Geocoding Options

Esri geocoding options:

Currently the best, most accurate, freely available tools for the UCB community. They include:

  • ArcGIS Online (AGOL) - Access the Esri World Geocoding Service via a web browser. Suitable for smaller datasets. Documentation available here:
  • ArcGIS desktop - Includes tools for geocoding, batch geocoding, reverse geocoding and address standardization. Documentation available (make sure the version matches the version you are using). the Access data either through:
    • Esri World Geocoding Service (links to the online service)
    • Esri Business Analyst software & Business Analyst US 2015 or later data (works offline, best for extremely large datasets and restricted data) - Contact the D-Lab to use their installation.
  • Esri World Geocoding Service API - Programmatic access to batch geocoding and reverse geocoding services with Python or R. To get started go to to the ESRI website and follow these instructions to generate a geocoding access token.  You will need to use this access token in your geocoding script. Tokens last for 14 days and then expire.

The Esri World Geocoding Service provides high quality geocoding for place names, addresses and zip codes within the USA. It also works with locations outside of the USA, but in sometimes more limited ways. Global coverage is documented here:

For more details on getting started with the Esri tools check out this tutorial guide written by the D-Lab and the Library - Geocoding Options with Esri software and data: A Guide for the UCB Community

Google Geocoding API:

Great accuracy and currency, with global coverage. Requires programming to access (R, Python, javascript, etc.) and limited to 2,500 free geocodes per day.

Census Online Geocoding Tool:

Easy to use graphic interface for geocoding addresses. Just upload a file of up to 1,000 addresses. Has the option of outputting census lookup codes (FIPS codes for census tracts).  There is an API for this service as well if you want to programmatically geocode more than 1,000 addresses at a time.

Geocoding in QGIS:

The MMQGIS plugin is a Python plugin for QGIS that contains geocoding tools, which can draw on the Google Geocoding API data, the OpenStreetMap Nominatim service, or a local street address layer, such as the US Census Bureau's TIGER/Line data.