Google has released version 5.7 of the popular Google Maps application which brings in some new features such as transit navigation in beta form, better search results, photo viewer in places section and a new download map area feature in the labs section which is the most important feature in this new release.
In order to get the download map area feature to work, you need to go to the labs section and enable the Download Map Area feature and then long press on an area and tap on "more options" and you'll see a menu as pictured below. Then you simply press on the "Download Map Area" function and then Google Maps will begin downloading the area map at a 10 mile radius.
While a 10 mile radius seems somewhat limited, you can download more than 1 map areas so you can still view the map of a large area offline without any data connection. Do take note that you still need a data connection if you were to get directions, so the map area data is meant for viewing maps offline only. You can zoom in and out with no issues in offline mode since the map data has already been downloaded.
To manage the downloaded maps (initially they will be highlighted with a square box around the downloaded area), you can go to the Cache Settings section and click on a downloaded map to highlight the downloaded map or you can rename it or if you no longer want it, you can simply delete the downloaded maps.
With this new feature, you no longer have to use up your precious data connection if all you want to do is just to view the map of a specific area. You can download it offline and you're good to go. Good stuff from Google.