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How to add the what3words Locator to Portal for ArcGIS Enterprise


This tutorial will take you through the steps required to add the what3words ArcGIS locator to Portal for ArcGIS Enterprise.

Further information on the features of the locator can be found here.

Setting up the Locator in Portal for ArcGIS Enterprise takes a few minutes. Once set up it will be available across Portal for ArcGIS Enterprise and any product that connects to it such as ArcGIS Pro and Survey123.


Adding as Content

First login to your Portal using your normal ArcGIS login.

Go to the “Content” tab and click on “New Item”.

Select from the list the “URL” option.

Enter as URL the following URL for the what3words locator. There is a different URL for each language or one containing all languages. The English URL is

Next, Select “ArcGIS Server web service” as Type.

Select store credentials with service item and do not prompt for authentication.

Then click Next.

Here is the list of all the what3words locator URLs for all languages:

Username: Your email address

Password: Your what3words API Key

Then click Next.

Change the Title and Tags for the geocoding service if required.


Making Available to your team

You will need to ensure that the content item is shared with all the users who need to access the Locator.

For example, you may need to click “Share” and select the whole “Organization“.

You will need to be an ArcGIS Administrator to add to your whole organization.

1. Go to the “Organization” tab;

2. Click the “Settings” tab;

3. Select “Utility Services” from the left-hand menu;

4. Under the “Geocoding” section, select “Add Locator”.

After clicking “Add Locator”, select “From Existing Locator”.

For “Locator Item” select the new Locator from the dropdown. You can change the Locator name and placeholder text if required.

Alternatively, select “From URL” and specify the URL of the Locator Content item added in the previous step (to get this URL click on the Locator in Content and on the Overview tab copy the URL in the bottom right).

The new Locator will now appear in the list of Locators.

To verify the Locator is now working, go to the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer Classic by selecting the “Map” tab and from the search dropdown what3words should appear in the list.

In case users open the “Map” in the new ArcGIS Online Map Viewer, to display the what3words locator, click on the search icon on the right-hand sidebar, the search bar will appear at the top and from the search dropdown what3words should appear in the list.



I get an error when I add the locator to the old version of the Portal since the instruction are slighly different.

To add the locator as an item from the web to an old version of the ArcGIS Online Portal, users need to select as a Type “ArcGIS Server web service“.

Add the latest version of the what3words ArcGIS locator URL, e.g.

Also make sure to select the “Store credentials with service item. Do no prompt for authentication“.

I get an error when adding the Locator as a Utility Service for my Organization

The what3words Locator must be shared with your Organization to add as a utility service. To share, you will need to go to the Locator Content Item and click “Share” (see step 3).

Additionally, we’ve seen a bug in some versions of Portal where a Locator must first be shared publically, then added as a Utility Service and then set back to Organization only (Setting to Organization before adding as a utility service results in an invalid service warning so this workaround is required).

I've added the Locator but no 3 word address are found when searching

If no 3 word addresses are found when searching in the ArcGIS search box then this could mean that the password supplied for the what3words Locator is incorrect. The password should be your what3words API key when adding the Locator as Content item (see screenshot).

Each time I search for a 3 word address I am prompted for credentials

If you have created a Web App and find that each time you search for a 3 word address you are being prompted that you need to add a username and password then you will need to ensure that you select the checkbox to store credentials with service item and do not prompt for authentication when adding the content item (see screenshot).

The item previously added will need to be removed and readded with this option enabled to prevent the credential dialog appearing.

I get a time out error when adding the Locator to Content

This most likely means that your server firewall is blocking requests to our Locator. Ensure that our Locator is added as a trusted server and allowable origin:

Organization -> Security -> Trusted Server and Allowable origin. Ensure you click save to store changes.

If you put the what3words Locator URL in a web browser and see a timeout then this may mean that the server’s firewall is blocking requests and your IT department may need to add an exception to your firewall.

GISUse 3 word addresses with a mapUse 3 word addresses within a GISUse 3 word addresses within an address searchArcGIS

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