Since version 2.6.14 the linux kernel has Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) support. Among others, one such file system in user space is sshfs.
With sshfs you can mount any directory of a machine for which you have an ssh account to any local directory. You simply say
sshfs host:directory /path/to/mount/pointand that's it. Then you can access the remote content without having to frequently rsync. To unmount you simply say
fusermount -u /path/to/mount/point.
Currently I use sshfs for the following setup: I am doing performance measurements on a remote server. The result of one pass is a bunch of plots which are generated on the server. I mount the target directory of the generated plots with sshfs and use display them with gqvieq. Since gqview automatically reloads if the displayed files change I can see the results of a new pass immediately without any further action.
Of course sshfs is integrated with the normal ssh environment, which means that ssh keys, agents and configs work as expected. Since I use sshfs I can't imagine how I have ever worked without it.