Mapboard GIS


Tile layer selector

Mapboard GIS includes a wide variety of Mapbox basemaps to contextualize mapping. Additionally, mbtiles-formatted basemaps and streaming imagery can be added, allowing a wide range of map imagery to be used in the application.

Caching Mapbox tilesets

Cached basemap management interface

As of version 2.3.0, Mapboard GIS can cache tilesets from Mapbox's servers. The Manage offline tilesets panel can be invoked from the Tile layers selection page. Pressing the + button at the top of this panel starts the process of downloading an offline tileset. Previously created tilesets are listed in this panel and can be deleted with contextual actions. Tilesets are shared between projects and limited to Mapbox-provided basemap layers.


The user interface for this feature is very basic and will be improved in a future release.

Creating basemaps

The form for adding a new tile layer to the map

The most common way to get outside imagery into Mapboard GIS is to convert it to a MBTiles basemap. MBTiles is a pre-tiled imagery format where imagery for different zoom levels is stored in a SQLite database (see the spec). It is easy to consume on mobile devices with relatively little overhead. However, because it's not a traditional GIS format, it must typically be prepared by the user. There are a few options:

  • QGIS can create mbtiles files from existing raster layers.
  • The commercial MapTiler package can be used to generate MBTiles datasets from imagery sources including GeoPDFs (see this help page).
  • The RasterIO MBTiles extension allows the creation of MBTiles files from most raster imagery.
  • GDAL can be used to create a MBTiles file using the gdal_warp, gdal_translate, and gdaladdo utilities.

A generic recipe for MBTiles preparation with GDAL:

gdal_translate -expand rgba input.tif step1.tif
gdalwarp -t_srs EPSG:3857 step1.tif step2.tif
gdal_translate -of mbtiles step2.tif output.mbtiles
gdaladdo output.mbtiles 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256