ESRI REST Geocoding Service in Go

9 Jul

The first thing I wanted to do with Go was to connect to a REST Endpoint. This is an easy task, something I do a lot, and it provides some great possibilities for larger applications. The full code is on GitHub Code, but I will walk through it section by section below.

First, declare the package and import the needed libraries.

package main

import (

We us fmt to print out the result to the console, net/http to connect to the ESRI service, io/util for reading the data the page returns and encoding/json to read the results -which are returned as json.

Next, we need to define the structure of our results.

type geocoderesult struct{
Candidates []candidates
type candidates struct{
Address string
Location struct{
X float64
Y float64

The GeoJSON result from the geocoding service will have a bunch of data and the results are stored in an array named candidates. You need a struct that will grab that result set. The struct geocoderesult has a Candidate []candidates. We need to define candidates. The second struct defines the candidate as contianing an Address and a Location. Location is also a struct that contains and x and y value. The structs match the JSON response.

Now, we create our main function to run the program.

func main(){

response, err := http.Get(“http://server/Geocode/findAddressCandidates?Street=100+lomas&f=json”)
if err != nil {
fmt.Printf(“%s”, err)



The function connects to the service and passes the parameters street and f. These are part of the ESRI REST API and I have explained them in other posts. The result of http.Get returns a response and an error. If there is an error, we Printf it. In the else statement, we can print the results.

defer response.Body.Close()
c, _ := ioutil.ReadAll(response.Body)
var data geocoderesult


We close the Body when we are done with it – defer allows us to keep the close close to where we open it. Next, we read the body of the response. In Go, there are a lot of functions that return more than one value (a value and an error). If you do not want to use one of the values returned, you need to use an underscore. Otherwise, if you declare it with a name and don’t use it later, the application will not run.

The next line declares data as a new empty geocoderesult. We then unmarshal(decode) the json response – c – to data. Notice the ampersand before data? Go uses pointers. The ampersand says that we want to put the unmarhaled json data in to the location of data in memory. Basically, replace the current value of data with the json.

Lastly, we can grab the first result returned from the service and print it. Indexes start at 0. Data contains a slice of Candidates so we can index on it using data.candidates[x]. Then candidates has fields for address and location.

Now you can build the application and run it. To make it more useful, you could have it read a textfile of addresses and write out a new file with their locations. Or, reverse geocode a series of points. Then you could build the binary and run it all the time.

In my next post, I will show you how to wrap this code in to a library so we can call it from another program as a function ourlibrary.geocode().


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