So, I've been travelling around the world a lot over the last couple of months, and one thing that I've been doing to avoid big roaming data charges on my personal phone, has been using the cached offline maps feature in Google Maps. This has worked without any problems in China, Australia, the UK and the US.
So I'm now in Brazil, and I suddenly find that I can't download any offline maps of the local areas.
When I go to the menu in Google Maps and select Make Available Offline, I get the usual square overlay to select the area, and then it turns red and says "Offline maps is not available in selected area".
I've tried zooming in and out, and moving the selection area around, but no luck.
It turns out that just because you can see and use a map online, that doesn't mean that Google will allow you to make the area available offline.
Offline maps are only currently available for certain countries, and Brazil isn't currently one of them, in fact it seems to be a fairly odd selection.
Google have published the full list of countries that it's available in here: Maps for Mobile - Offline Availability
EDIT: note that in a July 2013 Google Maps update, Google made offline maps into a hidden feature with no menu option any more. More about how to make maps available offline here: Get offline maps in new Google Maps
I found that I was able to remove the version of google maps I had installed (which was 6.11.1) and downloaded and installed an older version (6.6.0) from here which allowed me to pre-cache the area I was previously not allowed to. But in the older version I had to go to settings,labs and turn on the pre-cache option and then long press on the map, click on the balloon, and then scroll to the bottom for the pre-cache option.
I don't understand why downloading maps of certain areas is not allowed in newer versions. Obviously its not a technical reason. Is there some sort of political or legal reason? Other map apps can download maps for the entire world. It really doesn't make any sense to me...
Early versions of google maps you can save offline large maps anywhere. Newer versions only allowed a smaller area to be saved and the latest verion makes the save function hard to find and you cant save some countries.
Everything seems to get worse with the newer version, its all to do with money I guess. Advertising can only be seen when online. Terrible.