Methanol masers which are traditionally divided into two classes provide possibility to study important parts of the star forming regions: Class II masers trace vicinities of the massive YSOs while class I masers are likely to trace more distant parts of the outflows where newer stars can form.
There are many methanol transitions which produce observed masers. This allows to use pumping analysis for estimation of the physical parameters in the maser formation regions and its environment, for the study of their evolution. Extensive surveys in different masing transitions allow to conclude on the values of the temperatures, densities, dust properties, etc. in the bulk of masing regions. Variability of the brightest masers is monitored during several years. In some cases it is probably caused by the changes of the dust temperature which follow variations in the brightness of the central YSO reflecting the character of the accretion process.
A unified catalogue of the class II methanol masers consisting of more than 500 objects is compiled. Analysis of the data shows that: physical conditions within the usual maser source vary considerably; maser brightness is determined by parameters of some distinguished part of the object–maser formation region; class II methanol masers are formed not within the outflows but in the regions affected by their propagation.
It is shown that the “near” solutions for the kinematic distances to the sources can be used for statistical analysis. The luminosity function of the 6.7 GHz methanol masers is constructed. It is shown that improvement of the sensitivity of surveys can increase number of detected maser sources considerably.
The distribution of class II methanol masers in the Galaxy is constructed on the basis of estimated kinematic distances. It is shown that most of the sources are located in the Molecular Ring and that the dependence of the number of sources on the distance from the Galactic Center has significant peaks at the positions corresponding to the spiral arms.
A survey of CS(2-1) line emission tracing dense gas is performed at Mopra toward the positions of the brightest class II methanol masers. Velocity correlations between the maser and CS lines are analyzed. It is shown that the sources with l from 320 to 350 deg in which the masers are relatively blue-shifted, form a group which is located in the region of the Scutum-Centaurus spiral arm. This can reflect existence of a grand design, i.e., grouping of the sources with similar peculiarity of morphology or evolutionary stage of the massive star forming regions.