Occasionally, there is a need to share GIS content with a colleague who is elsewhere. It is fortunate then that there are ways to share and collaborate through ArcGIS Online by Esri. It is also advantageous that Esri offers training through their Virtual Campus. This week’s assignment focused on taking two of Esri’s virtual courses to familiarize oneself with ArcGIS Online. The first course, “Creating and Sharing GIS Content Using ArcGIS Online,” introduces what ArcGIS Online is and what it is capabilities. The second course, “Creating and Sharing Map Packages in ArcGIS,” introduces information sharing by way of map and tile packages. I will provide a brief overview of map and tile packages and give an overview of the exercises. A map package is typically used with vector data as opposed to a tile package which can contain both vector and raster graphics (but they are more suited to the latter). Tile packages are often used as basemaps in ArcGIS applications. The tile package is composed of layers of tiles (images) while a map package contains a copy of the source MXD file, a copy of the data used for that MXD, and any additional documentation. The type of package you use is dependent upon whether the data is operational or basemap data. A map package is better suited for operational data that needs to be interacted with (queried/edited) and a tile package is more appropriate for complex datasets (basemap-type data). The exercises are carried out in ArcMap and then shared (by way of ArcMap’s Share feature) with whomever the map maker chooses. Before the exercises begin there is an estimated completion time noted. (The heads up is nice so you know what you are in for.) The map and tile packages to be manipulated are all provided by Esri. The step-by-step instructions include screen shots that allow you to compare your results with those of the exercise. I found the virtual training courses easy to follow and I like that I can return to them and refresh my memory. As a result of a couple of exercises from this training, I shared two different packages on my Esri account. The screen shots you see in this post are screen captures of the base information of this shared data. I used map and tile packages provided by the course to practice modifying that data for shared use. As part of the exercise I interacted with, modified, and shared a map package. As part of the exercise I learned that it is necessary to remove any tile packages before I can share the map package. This exercise worked through an example in which you are an employee for a land management agency. You need to share your information with fellow employees and have this information easily accessed from the field. Thus, you work through optimizing a map package to do just that. Not only did I work through what was beneficial to include in the map package for fieldwork but I also learned how to include all the necessary item description information. Source.