It is currently possible to use Google Maps offline. Google allows you to save the map of a particular place. However, that’s as much as it gets. You can’t get detailed information on those maps like the opening hours of a court room or pharmacy or an office or restaurant you are visiting. Neither can you get turn-by-turn directions to the said place. That is changing. Google announced at the I/O 2015 keynote that offline search and navigation are some of the new features and improvements it is introducing to the popular application.
Next time you are travelling, you won’t need to pay hefty fees as roaming data charges just so that you can find your way in a foreign land. This move by Google is one of its efforts to boost its presence and usage of its services particularly in emerging countries where expensive data plans by carriers and even lack of access to any networks stand in the way of access and effective use of services like Maps. It has quite some experience doing this since it has already been running a similar program with YouTube which allows users in specific countries like Indonesia to save videos for viewing later (upto 48 hours).
Offline navigation has been one of the key strengths of Maps’ main competitor, HERE. HERE just became available on Android last year but has seen widespread popularity.