The Captain’s Board is a double hexagon table at the very center of the CIC. This board serves as a combination of podium and status dashboard for the ship’s Captain. Often, the ship’s XO or other senior officers will move forward and use a grease pen or replacement transparency sheet to update information on the board.
For example, after jumping from their initial position to the fleet supply base in the nebula, Colonel Tigh replaces the map on the ‘left’ side of the board with a new map of the location that the Galactica had just jumped to. This implies that the Galactica has a cache of maps in the CIC of various parts of the galaxy, or can quickly print them on the fly.
After getting hit by a Cylon fighter’s nuclear missile, Tigh focuses on a central section of the board with a grease pen to mark the parts of the Galactica suffering damage or decompression. The center section of the board has a schematic, top-down view of the Galactica.
During the initial fighting, Lt. Gaeda is called forward to plot the location of Galactica’s combat squadrons on the board. This hand-drawn method is explicitly used, even when the Dradis system is shown to be functioning.
The transparency sheets are labeled with both a region and a sector: in this case, “Caprica Region, SECT OEL”. More text fills the bottom of the label: “Battlestar Galactica Starchart…”
Several panels of physical keys and low-resolution displays ring the board, but we never see any characters interacting with them. They do not appear to change during major events or during shifts in the ship status.
The best use of these small displays would be to access reference data with a quick search or wikipedia-style database. Given what we see in the show, it is likely that it was just intended as fuigetry.
Charts and maps are an old interface that has been well developed over the course of human history. Modern ships still use paper charts and maps to track their current location as a backup to GPS.
Given the Galactica’s mission to stay active even in the face of complete technological superiority of the opponent, a map-based backup to the Dradis makes sense in spite of the lack of detailed information it might need to provide. It is best as, and should be, a worst-case backup.
Here, the issue becomes the 3-dimensional space that the Galactica inhabits. The maps do an excellent job of showing relationships in a two dimensional plane, but don’t represent the ‘above’ and ‘below’ at all.
In those situations, perhaps something like a large fish tank metaphor might work better, but wouldn’t allow for quick plotting of distance and measurements by hand. Instead, perhaps something more like the Pin Table from the 2000 X-Men movie that could be operated by hand:
It would provide a shake-resistant, physical, no-electricity needed 3-D map of the surrounding area. Markups could be easily accomplished with a sticky-note-like flag that could attach to the pins.