Mapboard GIS

Map interface

The map interface is the core of Mapboard GIS. When working within a project, the map is always available, and interactions with it follow the active status of the Mode switcher. All tool settings and options are adjusted in the Sidebar.

Editing options

A map interface annotated with functional groupings for the Edit panel

The edit panel contains settings for the active tools used for drawing, erasing, and modifying map data. During map editing, this panel will usually be open. The contents of the edit panel change depending on which editing mode and feature layer (Lines or Polygons) is active.

Move mode and basic view options

The view control panel
Linework showing constituents points

In move mode, map editing is disabled, and View options are the only controls available. These allow showing and hiding lines and polygons en masse. (Showing and hiding individual types is handled within the feature class options.)

The view controls also control an introspection layer for constituent points of geometries, which is especially handy for debugging topology errors.

Draw mode options

Drawing options

Draw mode allows drawing with a stylus (or a finger, if enabled in the application settings).

Certainty controls the dash pattern for line features

The drawing panel controls selection of the active feature class as well as certainty. For the Lines layer, a panel also controls feature snapping; this is replaced by controls for overlapping features for the Polygons layer.

Erase mode options

Erase mode options

In erase mode, a bounding area is used to clip and/or delete intersecting features. The primary option available in Erase mode is whether only the active feature type should be impacted by erasing, or all types.


In the tethered mode backed by PostGIS, a Topological erase tool is also available. This tool extends the eraser's area to the next "node" of the topology. This feature is experimental and should be used with caution!

Selection actions

The Select mode allows features to be gathered using a lasso to be operated on by more advanced metadata-management functionality. The operations in this mode allow linework and polygons to be adjusted after creation.

Many of these operations are experimental and subject to change.

The settings panel

The settings sidebar panel

The Settings panel provides access to a range of project configuration not directly related to editing operations.

The top segment of the panel shows basic, read-only information about the spatial backend, projection information, and topological tolerance of the project. The middle segment contains links to settings panels for specific functionality. The bottom provides debugging operations.

Tile layers

The Tile layers panel provides tools to add, switch, and modify the basemap layers that anchor the map.

Editor settings

Some less-important editing settings are relegated to this panel.

  • Default line width: sets the line width used for features missing the line_width property (this generally applies to features collected outside of the Mapboard GIS environment).
  • Pen base width: sets the baseline width for the editing pressure curve of of the Apple Pencil.
  • Simplify features: amount of smoothing to apply to captured features (keep low for high precision)

Topology management

The Topology settings panel provides a way to manage the polygon-closing behavior of the map.

Experimental features

The map interface contains several experimental features that are potentially extremely useful for quick, high-fidelity mapping.

Reshaping linework

Reshaping linework to fix inaccurate GIS point-clicking

The Reshape edit mode is currently only available using the PostGIS tethered backend. It functions similarly to the basic drawing tool, but it attempts to splice new linework where it crosses current features. Although this algorithm is fairly complex internally, the tool is an elegant and time-saving feature. It will migrate to the Spatialite backend once it reaches stability.

Geologic symbols

A fantastical fold-and-thrust belt that showcases geological line symbols.

The ability to use context-specific map symbology is one of the key strengths of paper-based geological mapping. Mapboard GIS is experimenting with support for linework symbols that allow expressive maps that are ready for interpretation right out of the app.

We are still working on scaling, so arrows and ticks are generally grossly mis-sized. Still, you can turn on the experimental symbols in the application settings panel. Eventually, we will also add geologic patterns for polygon fills.