What Problem Does This Solve?
Users might need to temporarily view data through a different ‘lens’ in order to gain insights into a problem and make a better decision.
When to Use This Pattern
Under certain circumstances the given basemap might not be sufficient or relevant and the user needs to toggle to a different view, e.g. from a very light-weight gray basemap to a more detailed streets basemap or from the default streets basemap to satellite imagery showing real-world features. If this situation is anticipated or part of the workflow then provide a Basempap Toggle.
What’s the Solution?
Let the user choose from an alternative view that is substantially different from the default view.
Why Use This Pattern?
Users typically work with a map that is optimized for the data and workflow. The application designer has therefore chosen a basemap that best fits this purpose. In cases when users need to deviate from the anticipated workflow an alternative basemap that varies in content or detail can help user with their task or to make better decisions overall.
If the anticipated need for a basempap toggle is part of a workflow (task) then it is worth considering to provide the basemap toggle functionality as part of the workflow itself instead of a globally positioned, permanent control on the map.
References and further reading