Mapboard GIS

Fea­tures and com­par­isons

Map­board GIS is dif­fi­cult to mea­sure against other field data-cap­ture apps, be­cause it takes a to­tally dif­fer­ent view of its task. It is pri­mar­ily de­signed to solve the (very hard) prob­lem of quickly and ef­fec­tively cap­tur­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions atop geospa­tial data. This task forms the ba­sis of ge­o­log­i­cal map­ping and other im­por­tant tasks for geo­sci­en­tists.

As the pres­ence of “GIS” (for geospa­tial in­for­ma­tion sys­tem) in its name im­plies, Map­board re­lies on a so­phis­ti­cated spa­tial en­gine — but it aban­dons the user in­ter­face con­straints of tra­di­tional GIS soft­ware. In the spirit of its name­sake tool, Map­board GIS pri­or­i­tizes a nat­ural and in­tu­itive hu­man in­ter­face for map edit­ing over a fully re­al­ized set of tools. It aban­dons pre­ci­sion GIS fea­tures such as point-based edit­ing op­er­a­tion in fa­vor of novel tools geared to sty­lus edit­ing, such as quickly eras­ing and re­shap­ing fea­tures. It also has path-break­ing it­er­a­tive topol­ogy ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Un­like other field data cap­ture apps, Map­board GIS is chei­fly fo­cused on edit­ing line and poly­gon data. There are al­ready many apps that sup­port field sam­pling and mea­sure­ment col­lec­tion. It is best used along­side an app like Field­Move, Stra­boSpot, Rockd, or an­other tool for cap­tur­ing point data.

Right now, there is no way to see col­lected point data in Map­board GIS. We will work to­wards deep­en­ing in­te­gra­tions with out­side plat­forms for point data in a later it­er­a­tion of the app.

In or­der to func­tion as a work­able map­ping ap­pli­ca­tion, Map­board GIS sup­ports a stan­dard set of base­line ca­pa­bil­i­ties:

  • Cre­ation and edit­ing of point and poly­gon fea­tures
  • User-cre­ated data types
  • Man­age­ment of basemaps, in­clud­ing mbtiles tile­sets
  • Spa­tialite (on­board) and Post­GIS (net­worked) data­base sup­port

Com­par­isons with other ap­pli­ca­tions

Ar­cGIS, QGIS, and Global Map­per are the gold stan­dard of GIS sys­tems, but they are only avail­able for desk­top-class de­vices and have only ba­sic tools for pen-based edit­ing.

If you want a fully fea­tured GIS sys­tem for iPad specif­i­cally, check out TouchGIS, which is ca­pa­ble but ex­pen­sive ($299/​year). Its edit­ing tools are sim­pler than desk­top GIS sys­tems but still geared to­wards pre­ci­sion over speed. It lacks the nat­ural draw­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Map­board GIS, but it has a lot of ad­vanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties that are out-of-scope for this app (such as man­ag­ing large col­lec­tions of ar­bi­trary lay­ers and fea­ture col­lec­tion forms).

The edit­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of pen-cen­tric apps such as Pro­cre­ate and Good­Notes serve as in­spi­ra­tions for Map­board GIS. These ap­pli­ca­tions are (ob­vi­ously) not map­ping tools, but they serve as as­pi­ra­tional mod­els for how a tablet user in­ter­face should re­cede to the back­ground be­hind strong pen- and touch-based edit­ing and sim­ple tools.

Other ap­pli­ca­tions that might be use­ful for col­lec­tion of gen­eral field in­for­ma­tion are In­put and QField, both of which at­tempt to in­te­grate with QGIS.