The future of CalTopo || Interview with founder Matt Jacobs

By Andrew Skurka / November 1, 2015 /

For several years my go-to platform for topographical maps and imagery has been CalTopo. It has fully replaced — and far surpassed — National Geographic’s TOPO! desktop software, which was discontinued in 2012 and is no longer supported by NG; and, overall, its trip-planning features are unmatched by other online platforms and apps. I use CalTopo most often…

Just released: CalTopo app for Android

By Andrew Skurka / December 22, 2018 /

The website CalTopo has been my go-to mapping platform for four over years. I primarily use it to make and print topographic maps, including for all of my guided trips and high route guides. It has come a long way since I began to use it, with regular improvements to the user-interface and imagery database.…

New snowpack tool: Satellite imagery for CalTopo + Gaia GPS

By Andrew Skurka / July 3, 2019 /

The peak backpacking season is almost here, and many backpackers with planned trips in the Mountain West are asking the same question: “What is the current state of the snowpack?” This is especially the case in areas that had wet winters and springs, notably the High Sierra, Colorado, and Wyoming. Historically, I’ve relied on SNOTEL…

Assignment: Create a topographic mapset with CalTopo

By Andrew Skurka / March 18, 2020 /

*NOTE: This post has been updated to address the wholesale changes in CalTopo in 2021. You can read about these changes HERE and we have inserted links to key places in CalTopo’s training page throughout these instructions. If you notice an inconsistency, have your own tips, or find a better workaround, let us know in…

Long-term review: CalTopo || My go-to mapping & GPS navigation platform

By Andrew Skurka / August 9, 2021 /

Let me sound old for a minute. When planning the Sea-to-Sea Route in early-2004, I relied on USGS 30- x 60-minute paper maps at 1:100,000 scale to plot, measure, and follow a 700-mile route across North Dakota and Montana to link the North Country and Continental Divide Trails. Two years later, when planning the Great…