Projects vs Mapfiles vs LYR

02-18-2022 07:10 AM
by Anonymous User
Not applicable

ArcGIS Pro 2.7.3

I am a GIS Analyst, and my day-to-day consists of a lot of one-off requests, on-going routine requests and data management/maintenance. I am looking for some ideas or best practice on Pro and projects.

I create a lot of exhibits. Within a project am I better off to be saving lyr files that I can pull back in to revise a map in the future or should I be saving a mapfile?

This is fairly broad but I would like to hear how others are organizing their work within pro.

1 Reply
MVP Honored Contributor

We do a lot of one-off requests, and we make use of both Project Templates and Layout Templates for them, since a lot of the projects start from the same basic map, or include many of the same reference layers, and need to have certain things in the map surrounds when exported.

We do have a few other cases where a specific person/department will routinely ask for different maps in a single "theme". In those cases, we'll have a "Planning and Zoning One-Offs" project and clone / reuse layouts as needed.

Map files are nice, but mostly useful for bringing a map with multiple layers across to different projects. Layer files, similarly, are useful for bringing single layers across to other maps, whether in the same project or not. There's a place for either one, really, but I personally prefer saving the map itself, as that will also include other things like the map's projection, reference scale, etc., that you don't get with a layer file.

You can also save map packages to AGOL / Portal, which is nice. If you open a map package from Portal, it keeps a link to the source package, so if you ever re-upload the same map package, Pro will prompt you to update your copy of it locally. Useful if you have multiple staff / machines in the mix.

- Josh Carlson
Kendall County GIS