About sharing an address locator as a locator package

Locator packages (.gcpk) make it easy to share locators with others. A locator package may contain one locator or a composite locator along with its participating locators packaged into one convenient, portable file. The file size of the locator package is smaller than the locator as it is compressed and thus makes file transfer easier. Locator packages can be used for easy sharing of locators between colleagues in a work group, across departments in an organization, or with any other ArcGIS users via ArcGIS Online. Locator packages can also be used to create an archive of the locators.

Address locators and composite locators can be packaged and distributed by copying the locator package files to a disk or shared network.


Locator packages can be created and used in version 10.1. They are not supported in 10.0 or earlier versions.

Understanding the locator files

Address locators can be stored in different workspaces including file folders and geodatabases. The locator consists of multiple files in a file folder or tables in geodatabase. When a locator is packaged and unpacked, the locator will be saved in a file folder.

Address locator in a file folder

When an address locator is saved in a file folder, three files are created. The files are prefixed with the locator name and contain these file extensions:

  • .locContains the general information of the locator
  • .loc.xmlContains the metadata, parsing syntax, and parameters for the specified properties of the locator
  • .loxContains the attributes and indexes of the reference data

A composite address locator consists of only two files:

  • .locContains the reference to the participating address locators
  • .loc.xmlContains the metadata and parameters for the specified properties for the composite locator

Address locators in a geodatabase

Address locators saved in a file, personal, or ArcSDE geodatabase are stored in multiple tables within the database. If you do not want to share the entire file geodatabase in the .gdb folder or the personal geodatabase in the Microsoft Access .mdb file, packaging the locators is the simplest way of sharing the locators.

Packaging locators

Creating a locator package is a process of copying and compressing the locators into a single file. A locator package has the file extension of .gcpk. A package can be created using the Locator Package dialog box in ArcCatalog or the Package Locator geoprocessing tool.

Learn more about creating a locator package

Packaging a single locator

A locator package can be created for one locator at a time. Regardless of which workspace the locator is stored in, including ArcSDE geodatabase, the locator is copied and compressed into a package file.


Packaging a locator that contains a place-name alias table is not supported. You may remove the place-name alias table in the Address Locator Properties dialog box prior to packaging the locator.

Packaging a composite locator

The best way to package multiple locators in a locator package is to create a composite locator and package the composite locator. By default, the composite locator and each participating locator is copied and compressed into a package file. If the composite locator contains participating locators that are stored in an ArcSDE geodatabase, you have an option to either copy the locators in ArcSDE or reference them in the composite locator. If the participating locator is a geocode service, the service connection, or URL, remains in the composite locator.

Unpacking a locator package

When you unpack a locator package, the locator or composite locator in the package is saved in a folder. You can use the unpacked locators for geocoding.

Learn more about unpacking a locator package

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