As the title says, can you do it? Because i would like to, as i got never used to it and i constantly zoom in and out anyway. I rarely read the names of the planets, so browsing it to look for the one i want does not work for me, as i dont know its name anyway, its billion times faster for me to zoom in and out. Yes, i am more likely to remember the position of the planet i want to look at, even on more complicated map, than its name.
It may be helpful during battles, to click units you want, but i never got used to that either, and anyway, i would prefer, if they actually worked on the ships keeping some reasonable formations or at least distances between themselves, so the battles dont turn into clustefucks and its solved.
Bottom line: It just takes away part of the screen and possibly slows the game down even more. If its currently not switchable, it should be.