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Map Packages are a great way of sharing data between ESRI ArcGIS sites.  Using ArcMap you create a package of your current map that bundles your map and all the referenced data into a single mpk file.  You can then send this mpk file to another Arcmap user, they then simply double click on the file, the data is extracted to a temporary location and the map is displayed so the receiver sees the same thing as the sender.  This removes the need for putting the data in a shared location.

Sometimes you are unable to double click on the file to start ArcMap.  This might happen in a Citrix hosted environment for example.  Or sometimes you might want to extract the data to a permanent location.

Use the Extract Package tool to extract a map package file to a specific folder.

  1. Start ArcMap and open the toolbox
  2. Navigate to Data Management Tools>Package>Extract Package.
  3. Double click on “Extract Package” This will start the Extract Package tool as shown.
  4. Browse to you mpk file for the first option.
  5. Specify your destination folder as the second option.
  6. Click OK and the file is extracted to the specified folder.

Navigate to the folder in Explorer or ArcCatalog and you will find the map documents and data.  The folder may include sub folders for different versions of ArcGIS.  You may need to navigate into these sub folders to find the map document that you need.