Using ArcGIS Desktop Advanced 10.1 SP1, ArcGIS Online for Organizations

I'm new to ArcGIS Online and we just purchased an ArcGIS Online Organizational account... I'm interested in taking a feature layer (eg. fire hydrants) and publishing it on ArcGIS Online (which I'm able to do...) and allowing users/public edit the layer by adding and updating hydrants. What I'd like to do then on a regular basis is to sync or download the hydrant layer back to my file geodatabase that I have on my laptop. The only way I've been able to figure out to get data back to my geodatabase is to download the layer from ArcGIS via shapefile and copy/replace the features in my geodatabase... wondering if there is a less cumbersome way to go about this...

I've referenced Downloading feature class from ArcGIS Online web map? but when I download the .pkinfo as @artwork21 suggested, it only seems to reference my feature layer on ArcGIS Online, not download anything to a geodatabase as he indicated...

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    Have you considered geodatabase replication? They come in many flavours, the simple one is 'check out' which creates a version in SDE and copies all the features into a geodatabase, which can then be dismissed or checked back in to update the changes you have made on your laptop. Look at disconnected editing for more info: help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//… – Michael Stimson Apr 2 '14 at 1:31
  • I am only using file geodatabases, I am not using any kind of database server at all... – Jason Miller Apr 2 '14 at 2:47
  • Perhaps there would be a way to download the updates using python, as a toolbox item or a standalone script. Do you have any ability with python/arcpy? – Michael Stimson Apr 2 '14 at 3:10
  • I am fairly good with python/arcpy... – Jason Miller Apr 3 '14 at 22:17
  • Can you use something like feature class to feature class from python? Or doesn't the online data behave like a feature class? – Michael Stimson Apr 3 '14 at 22:22