Easy GIS Data and Map Collaboration Using ESRI Software

What is the most efficient way to collaborate on a project with users and nonusers of Esri’s software products, such as ArcGIS (ArcMap), ArcGIS Explorer Desktop (ArcExplorer), ArcGIS Online, and ArcReader?

You can use several approaches to package information (data and map) from a map created in ArcMap and share it with others – ArcMap users and non-ArcMap users alike.  

By using the file types listed in the tables below, you can allow collaborators to provide data accuracy or location accuracy feedback that can be read back into your ArcGIS maps. Use the tables and the information following the tables as quick references to help you decide how best to collaborate with other project participants.

Note: In this document, ArcExplorer refers to ArcGIS Explorer, not the previous software known as ArcExplorer. Also, to have the full functionality described in this document, you must have ArcGIS Explorer version 1500 or newer.


File Type Tables

File Type Tables

Map Type Table

File Type Descriptions

Layer Package (.lpk)

You can use layer packages to share an individual dataset and its respective properties or individual datasets and their respective properties from ArcMap or ArcExplorer with other ArcMap or ArcExplorer users. A layer package is created in ArcMap or ArcExplorer and contains the layer’s source data or layers’ source data and all the associated defined properties. 

Map Content File (.nmc)

You can use map content files to share datasets and their respective properties from ArcExplorer with other ArcExplorer users. A map content file is created in ArcExplorer and contains the map and all of the associated data.

Map Package (.mpk)

You can use map packages to share map documents and associated data from ArcMap with other ArcMap users. A map package is created in ArcMap and contains the ArcMap document (an .mxd file) and all the data associated with that document.

Published Map File (.pmf)

You can use published map files to share map documents and associated data from ArcMap with ArcReader users. A published map file is created in ArcMap, using the Publisher extension, and contains the map and all of the associated data.