Sharing GIS Data: Using an ESRI 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 within ArcMap and contains the ArcMap document (.mxd) and all the data associated with that document. 

Learn about other ESRI software formats you can use to share data.


Exporting GIS Data as a Map Package from ArcMap for Use in ArcMap

To create the .mpk file: 

1.  Click File to display the drop-down menu, and then click Create Map Package.  

2.  Choose to upload the file to your ArcGIS Online account or to save it on your hard drive.

Create Map Package interface


Option 1: Upload package to my ArcGIS Online account

If you choose to upload to your ArcGIS Online account, you are prompted to log in to your account. After logging in, you are prompted to add a summary of the map, description, credits, and tags and to identify with whom to share the .mpk file.

Option 2: Save package to file

If you choose to save the package to file, select where you want to save the file on your computer. 

3.  Click Validate. Your map is checked for any issues. This validation must occur before you can share the map. 

4.  Click Share. The map package (.mpk) is created and it contains the map document (.mxd) and all the data within the Table of Contents and their properties. The map package (.mpk) can be shared via e-mail or copied and opened by another user in ArcMap. 


Adding GIS Data to ArcMap from a Map Package

To load the .mpk file if saved locally: 

From Windows Explorer

1. Browse to the location of the .mpk file. 

2. Double-click the file to launch ArcMap and unpack all the data in the package. 

From ArcCatalog

1. Browse to the location of the .mpk file. 

2. Right-click the file, and select Unpack

This action launches ArcMap and unpacks the data in the package. The process is the same if you are using ArcCatalog from within ArcMap.

Note: The .mpk file cannot be opened within ArcMap.

To load the .mpk file if saved to

1.  Connect to ArcGIS Online, and log in if necessary (File ArcGIS Online). 

2.  Click My Maps and Data or My Groups to access the shared map package.  

3.  When you locate the map package, click it, and then click Open. The package opens in ArcMap, and the data loads.

Regardless of where the .mpk file is stored originally, the data within the map package when unpacked saves on your hard drive in the Documents and Settings folder: