Mapboard GIS

Map­board GIS is an iPad + Ap­ple Pen­cil app for draw­ing ge­o­logic maps. It com­bines the nat­ural edit­ing work­flow of pen-and-pa­per map­ping with the pre­ci­sion, flex­i­bil­ity, and scale-in­de­pen­dence of geospa­tial in­for­ma­tion sys­tems (GIS). Its for­ward-look­ing de­sign helps be­gin­ner and ex­pert map­pers pro­duce topo­log­i­cally con­sis­tent ge­o­logic maps at any scale.

Map­board GIS was born out of frus­tra­tion with both pa­per– and GIS-based map­ping work­flows.


Pen-based map­ping

Map­board GIS hides its sophisit­i­cated spa­tial en­gine be­hind sim­ple tools for draw­ing, eras­ing, and re­shap­ing fea­tures. Quicker edit­ing al­lows map­ping time to be spent re­fin­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions in­stead of fight­ing with tech­ni­cal tools.


In cur­rent dig­i­tal map­ping work­flows, con­tacts are fully dig­i­tized prior to “clos­ing” linework to form unit poly­gons. The it­er­a­tive topo­log­i­cal solver within Map­board GIS pain­lessly keeps the struc­ture of the map con­sis­tent.

Tether to desk­top GIS

Field map­ping is im­por­tant, but Map­board GIS is even more pow­er­ful along­side a net­worked com­puter. Its teth­ered mode, backed by a Post­GIS spa­tial data­base, al­lows work across mas­sive datasets. The Post­GIS Ge­o­logic Map topol­ogy solver can main­tain a con­sis­tent map dur­ing edit­ing, even dur­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive map­ping!

Open by de­sign

Map­board GIS con­forms to open stan­dards. It is backed by Spa­tialite and Post­GIS data­bases, which are seam­lessly read­able by a wide range of GIS soft­ware. The server com­po­nents that drive its teth­ered mode are sim­ple and open-source, al­low­ing cus­tomized in­te­gra­tions with ex­ter­nal GIS sys­tems.

A fo­cused tool

Map­board GIS strives to bring hand-drawn ge­o­logic maps into the dig­i­tal age, pro­vid­ing an el­e­gant al­ter­na­tive to its name­sake field equip­ment. Many other apps al­ready ca­pa­bly aug­ment field note­books, Brün­ton com­passes, and nav­i­ga­tional de­vices. We try not to rein­vent the wheel — but go­ing for­ward, we hope to in­te­grate with other tools for seam­less data-col­lec­tion ex­pe­ri­ences.


Map­board GIS is a pow­er­ful tool for field and desk­top GIS, de­vel­oped by ac­tive geo­science re­searchers. Our $29.99/​year Full Ver­sion sub­scrip­tion helps de­fray the cost of de­vel­op­ment and sus­tain the pro­ject over time. The demo ver­sion is lim­ited to 50 edit op­er­a­tions per day.