What Problem Does This Solve?
Map and content are equally important, and app is often workflow driven.
Why Use This Pattern?
As outlined in the Task Oriented pattern, having clear and well-defined workflows are important to prioritize content and features on the user’s goals. These workflows require space and placing them on top of the map would potentially hide important and large parts of the map content so having the content side-by-side with the map is a good compromise. The map itself often supports the workflow in showing information needed that allows users to make a decision or selecting and modifying features as part of the task. In other words, the map and the content are equally important, they support and complement each other.
When to Use This Pattern
The Partial Map layout is very common in enterprise apps, where business workflows are important, and users are GIS savvy and well trained. Use it when the map has a complex data structure and there is a need to modify that as part of a task in the workflow, e.g. toggling between tabs can turn layers on the map on and off.
Partial Map is also a good layout choice for apps with advanced interactions between the content and the map, for instance when the map drives the navigation of the app while letting the user discover additional information and interact with the data.
What’s the Solution?
Build the app so that the map appears side-by-side with the content and/or workflows, in left-to-right languages the content panel is typically to the left of the map if it holds workflows but can also be to the right for pure data display. The best placement should be decided based on the relative importance to the map. Often both sides are connected so that interactions on one side trigger the appropriate action or update on the other side and vice versa, for instance changing the map extent or selecting another geography may update the numbers displayed in the content area.
The real power of Partial Map layouts is the ability to embed map tools into the task workflow so that users don’t have to look for them in different places but have them handy and part of the logical flow of the app. These tools can include sketching a new feature or selecting an existing feature to change its attributes.
Cartography is very important since the map is still rather complex with many layers and interactions. Adding a banner area on top is a good way to include branding, it also adds space for a search, spatial filters and other map tools that are not part of the workflow.