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What is a *.pkinfo file?

Google Search results talk about Package Info files and how they contain map documents and layers, so I don't see how this is different from a .mpk file.

I also have not found anything about how to create a *.pkinfo file.

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A .pkinfo file is an xml file that hold the Arcgis online unique map id hash. For example, this AGOL map has the id 2f382d5fcdb748deba89e6104b59551d

The Open in Arcgis Desktop option downloads a pkinfo file locally, and this is what it reads:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?><pkinfo><ID>2f382d5fcdb748deba89e6104b59551d</ID><size>-1</size><created>1381949303000</created><type>Web Map</type><packagelocation>http://www.arcgisonline.com/sharing/content/items/2f382d5fcdb748deba89e6104b59551d/data</packagelocation><pkinfolocation>http://www.arcgisonline.com/sharing/content/items/2f382d5fcdb748deba89e6104b59551d/item.pkinfo</pkinfolocation></pkinfo>

It's just a url and an item id that opens the web service/layers inside ArcMap

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