About packaging

In ArcGIS, a package is a compressed file containing GIS data. You share a package like any other file—via e-mail, FTP, the cloud, thumb drives, and so on. You share them between colleagues in a work group, between departments in an organization, or with any other ArcGIS users via ArcGIS Online. The recipient of your package unpacks it—typically by dragging and dropping it onto ArcMap—and immediately begins using its contents.

Currently, there are five kinds of packages you can make with ArcGIS:

  1. A layer package (.lpk) includes both the layer properties and the dataset referenced by the layer. With a layer package, you can save and share everything about the layer—its symbolization, labeling, table properties, and the data.
  2. A map package (.mpk) contains a map document (.mxd); all the data referenced by the layers it contains; and other map items such as graphics, layouts, and so on. Essentially, it's a collection of layer packages along with the map document.
  3. A locator package (.gcpk) contains one address locator or a composite locator along with its participating locators.
  4. A tile package (.tpk) contains a tile cache of data that you can display as a basemap with ArcGIS Runtime applications.
  5. A geoprocessing package (.gpk) is how you share your geoprocessing workflows.