The Galaxy Map is a very useful tool for navigating the galaxy. It has various useful features and information.
Universal Cartographics provides all the information about systems in the galaxy. Such as the type of planets, stars, trade routes and stations. People can contribute by selling exploration data to Universal Cartographics when docked at a station.
Hovering over a star on the galaxy map will display a menu which allows you to select it, plan a route, view the System Map, purchase exploration data, or purchase trade data. Purchasing exploration and trade data can only be done if the system is within a certain distance (approximately 20 LY) of the target system.
The Info tab displays information about the system that the mouse is currently hovering over. Star Type, Allegiance, Economy, Government, Population, Gleise, HIPP, HD and a description are all displayed here when you have access to this data (i.e. purchased it).
The Navigation tab allows you to search for a system, celestial, or station and will move the view to the most relevant result. The results can be cycled through by pressing enter again. A route can be plotted to the selected system from your current system. It will display an icon in your ship's Navigation Panel adjacent to the system which is next in the route. Also, route planning can be changed here to choose Economical or Fastest routes and to plan for cargo mass. Note: route planning can take a while, so systems further from your current location may take a few minutes to find a viable route.
The View tab can be a powerful tool because of all the information that this tab provides. By switching to the Map mode you can change each system to be color coded based upon their allegiance, population, economy type, etc. Trade routes can also be displayed in the Map mode and will color code each trade route based upon what commodity type is being transported.