Since version 6.9, Google Maps for Android has offered the ability to download a map to store offline. This is great when you’re travelling to foreign countries where you have heavy roaming data charges. Unfortunately, copyright restrictions mean that map downloads aren’t available in all countries. One country that doesn’t allow you to download maps is Bosnia & Herzegovina. When I visited recently, I looked to see what alternatives were available on the Android market.
The Bosnian map provided by Place Stars seemed like an obvious choice. It’s not free but it’s very reasonably priced, and offers detailed offline maps of the whole country. As a bonus it has some basic tourist information and points of interest, though most of this seems to be taken from Wikipedia.
The mapping isn’t bad, and you can navigate round it much as you would Google Maps (though you can only zoom to set levels rather than the arbitrary zoom offered by Google Maps). It integrates GPS to give your location (which doesn’t incur any roaming costs). The map data seemed perfectly accurate for the most part, although it did mark one highway as existing even though (as it turned out) it was still under construction.
My major gripe with this app is that the labels on the map aren’t displayed well. All the text is far too small, and it doesn’t make sensible choices about which labels should be most prominent so it’s often hard to find familiar landmarks on the map. As an example, the first thing I tried to do with the map was to locate Sarajevo. You would expect the capital city to be trivial to find, but I had to zoom in almost to street level before I saw a label with the name of the city on it, and even then it was a similar size to lots of other less important names.
Overall this is still a useful app, and well worth the money if you are travelling to somewhere where the Google Maps aren’t available offline.