I did an ArcGIS Online training course a while back and learned a little bit more on Tile Packages. I followed the instructions, how-to-create-a-tile-package and created a tile package for some aerial photography. The process completed and I now have a nice little 68GB tile package.

I want to use this package locally in ArcGIS Desktop, but whenever I add AirPhoto.tpk to my ArcMap it will freeze and stay like that. I have a pretty powerful PC and the resources aren't maxing out when I try to add it, it just seems to freeze the ArcGIS desktop. I've tried waiting about 12 hours for the process to complete, but it still stays frozen.

I've been able share a different package and store it on ArcGIS online, then bring it back to desktop. That option doesn't really work for the aerial photos as I would max out my credits storing it online. I've got ArcGIS for Server here and think I will try adding it there and sharing it.

What am I doing wrong here? Do I need to unpack it or something and if so what is the point of a tile package? I am currently running 10.3 Advanced, does an upgrade to 10.4 solve this?

  • 1
    I'm not sure you're doing anything wrong...but a 68Gb package is pretty big. Can I ask what your end goal is? A way to consume your imagery? If you have Server, have you considered serving an image service?
    – KHibma
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 1:46
  • @KHibma yes the goal is serving imagery. I had hoped to find a way to build a cache and serve it without imagery in house. We have used server and image services before, they work good, but I was interested to try out Tile Packages as an alternative. This is more of an exploratory option, I want to see if a tile package is a better solution for serving imagery and base maps in house (internal network).
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


It seems the size is an issue. I tiled 1 image 414 Mb big enter image description here called Tile.tpk added it from D:\scratch folder to new mxd and check source: enter image description here

As one can see ArcGIS unpacking it in the background into something much-much bigger, check out uncompressed size. It is 10 times more!

I have no idea re point of having raster package.

  • 1
    It's larger because it's a cache of the data, not the data itself. You're taking snap shots of the original at many different scales
    – KHibma
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 4:11
  • So it seems tile packages are pretty similar to Map Packages. As in they are like a zip file. Can be shared around unpacked and then used. So the TPK is just a holder for the data, to actually consume it you need to unpack all of the tiles. If this is the case a tile package seems fairly useless in terms of aerial photography.
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 16:01
  • In the end Tile Packages are in my mind a way of sharing imagery. They work well on ArcGIS online, but not locally. Thank you for the clarification on this. Back to the drawing board and JP2s!
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 15:38

This does not directly address your question. What you are looking for is a MBTiles. The MBTiles specification is an efficient format for storing millions of tiles in a single SQLite database. Each SQLite database is self-contained and represented as a single .sqlite file. No external setup is required. You can copy a .sqlite file from a desktop computer to a mobile device and have all its rows, tables, and indexes ready to be used.

MBTiles doesn't need the tiles be extracted rather the application has to directly read the data from the database; very efficient.

As an alternative to mbtiles you can try Geopackage from OGC. The overall structure are the same as MBTiles with little differences in the schema.

ESRI claims that ArcGIS 10.3 support the reading/writing of GeoPackage tiles!

  • Nifty, trying this right now. Don't think it will fit my needs, but cool anyways.
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 15:37

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