The address locator is the main tool for geocoding. It is used to find locations for addresses, or to get the address of a point location. To find a matching address, each address is separated into its constituent parts and compared against the address attributes of the features in the locator.
Each locator is a dataset that contains addressable features along with rules for how addresses are specified and parsed for geocoding.
ArcGIS comes with ready-to-use address locator services accessed from ArcGIS.com.
You can also create your own address locators. To learn how, see Creating an address locator in the ArcGIS help.
Managing and publishing address locators
You can combine two or more locators, for example, a parcel locator and a street address locator, into a composite locator. To learn how to create a composite address locator, see Creating a composite address locator in the ArcGIS help.
You can also share a locator by publishing it on the web. To learn how to publish an address locator, see Publishing an address locator in the ArcGIS help.