Basemaps are important. Maybe they are a pretty complex thing or maybe simple simple simple, but usually they serve as an unsung framework to drape other data on top of...which can be a bit of a drag. Oftentimes a basemap is really beautiful and, while I love data mapping, the basemap can have plenty to say on its own. Also, the properties of a successful basemap line up well with the properties of a pleasing desktop image...
- Both are muted context-foundations for the active bits
- Both ought to be handsome things that you wouldn't mind looking at even with stuff piled atop
- Both should tempt folks walking past your screen to hesitate for a closer look
So here are some basemaps in the raw. I'm currently using the South Pole projected basemap (that stirred so much ire when it supported swirling seas of hurricanes) as my background image here at IDV. It's my favorite one.