In the partial map layout, panels for workflow or content are side by side with the map. Map and content are equally important, and the app is often workflow driven.
As outlined in the task-oriented pattern, having clear and well-defined workflows is important for aligning content and features with the goals of users. Having a panel for content and workflows side by side with the map helps users focus on their tasks and avoids obstructing the map. The map itself often supports the workflow in showing information that is needed for making decisions or selecting and modifying features as part of the task. Therefore, the map and the content are equally important: they support and complement each other.
The partial map layout is common in enterprise apps in which business workflows are important and users are GIS savvy and well trained. Use it also when you need to explore or modify data as part of the workflow.
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 simultaneously letting the user discover additional information and interact with the data.
Build the app so that the map appears side by side with the content or work-flows. In left-to-right languages, the content panel is typically on the left of the map if it holds workflows but can also be on the right for pure data display. Some apps may place content below the map. 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. In fact, these interactions are so widely used that they are described in detail within their own patterns, location list and extent-driven content. Enterprise apps often also add a banner area on top of the content and map. A banner is a good way to include branding, search, attribute filters, and other tools that are not part of the workflow itself.
The real power of partial map layout is the ability to embed map tools into the workflow so that they are available as part of the logical flow and users don’t need to look for them in different places. These tools can include sketching a new feature or selecting an existing feature to change its attributes.
Pay special attention to cartography because this type of map is still complex, with a plethora of layers and interactions.
The Boston Water and Sewer Commission has developed a citywide model that was used to simulate a variety of wet-weather events and flooding scenarios that could occur in Boston, Massachusetts. The result of this project may help inform the city’s efforts to prepare for the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and more intense storms. The Inundation Model Viewer app uses the partial map layout, in which the main workflow is inside a panel at the bottom of the screen. The user can follow steps to select from different weather events, adjust the amount of rainfall, and modify the storm surge. Tweaking these parameters updates the map and the impact forecast metrics shown in the last box, on the right.