App suggestions and questions

JoeD's Avatar


25 Oct, 2019 07:45 PM

Hello Caltopo,

I’ve used the app quite a bit over the last three months and wanted to give some feedback. I’ve numbered the issues below:

1) When searching for location, the white box pops up and says “Getting Location” while the map behind is darkened. Either because of my old phone or where I’m at in Montana it often takes 3-4 minutes to get a fix. This means I can’t look at the map while it’s searching. I don’t long-press the location button for it to automatically keep my location because I’m trying to save battery. I much prefer Avenza’s style where their location circle is grayed out while it’s searching. That way I can keep viewing.

2) I’d like a different way to save and view map items. For example, I archery hunt within a 5-mile radius of one mountain near my house. So I have a map called Hedges Mtn. saved and formatted just how I want for viewing. My first trip of the year I’ll add a few markers – “bull spooked here Sept. 8”, “scat here Sept 9”, “fresh wallow here Sept 9”, and so on. Then I’m out a week later adding new markers depending on what I’m seeing. The resulting “Hedges Mtn” map gets too crowded. When I open the Map Items menu there are too many markers and lines to turn off and on. I think it’d be better to save map items to a folder on my account, rather than attached to a map. I’d have a folder “Sept. 8-10 hunt”, then “Sept. 15-18 hunt” and so on. If they must be attached to a map, maybe within the Map Items menu, instead of a Markers checkbox, we could create sub-checkboxes to identify groups of markers.

*Ha! After looking again, I see there is an option, when choosing “Add Map Item”, to add a folder. It’s still saved to the map, rather than to my account, but much better than my previous system.

3) I understand the naming convention for downloaded maps is layer, lat, lon, and then the 15x15 minute block. I’d like the option, prior to downloading, of creating a subfolder within Android/data/ where I can assign a more meaningful name. With the space in my pro account I’ve got a bunch of maps all over western and central MT and it’s getting confusing.

4) Any plans to add some type of battery saving mode? In my unscientific tests Avenza is less of a drain than Caltopo. I wonder if all the zooming in an out and resizing the map is to blame? I’d be happy with keeping a fixed view at 1:24k like Avenza does when it’s using a geo PDF.

5) The new way that the status of offline layers is viewed and downloaded is much better than the original version. I can’t seem to download the land management layer though. Is that an option for the app?

6) I'm trying to use a different phone. The app installed fine and synced to my account. I created a "tiles" folder where it's needed and copied my maps from the old phone. But they aren't detected when offline on the new phone. See screenshot of the new phone's folder path where I've copied all the files

I’m not trying to complain with any of this. I just wanted to offer suggestions to help out.


  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Ben Lantow on 25 Oct, 2019 08:34 PM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    Thanks for the feedback. There's a lot here, I'll try to respond to all of it.

    1. 3-4min is absolutely excessive, we haven't had any reports of taking near that time to acquire GPS location. What model phone are you using? What version of Android? Does it always take that long for a GPS fix or only the first time you try? There are a few technical reasons we lock the map up when locating you, primarily so the map can center on your location without fighting user input if you're trying to move the map.

    2. Lines and markers are objects of maps, that will never change (or at least not in the next two years), what I would suggest is using folders to organize them, and we are going to work so that you can turn on and off all objects within a folder with a single press.

    3. With new phones and storage capacity we don't really anticipate that users are moving or altering these tiles typically. We are working to add the ability to delete tiles from within the downloader. We may start saving each layer into a unique layer folder to separate them out more. I do not anticipate every adding a user editable folder structure here, these tiles are intended to be downloaded by the app and used by the app (and soon removed within the app) more steps would complicate things for 99% of users.

    4. Avenza probably is less of a drain than CalTopo, likely because of the numerous user inputs and redraw of the map. We have a variety of ways to save battery (such as only getting GPS location when requested, ability to adjust track resolution (how many GPS fixes), etc. We are always working to make battery life better. For example we're talking about dark mode implementation potentially as a battery saving feature as well.

    5. Glad to hear that, we spent a lot of time making improvements to the downloader. We haven't compiled the land management layer for download - yet. We are negotiating for full parcel data currently including address and owner name and we were planning on making that a much more useful layer before packaging it. If we can't get that data soon, or if other technical hurdles present themselves we will likely package the land management layer (with one small tweak of shading the wilderness areas differently).

    6. Hmm... I have to look at this more. I think the tiles may be signed unique to your device ID. While you can take tiles on and off a single device, I don't think you can put them on another device (prevents theft of our copyrighted materials).

    Hope that helps give some guidance for where we are going. If we don't have parcel data to integrate into the management layer I would anticipate it being packed for offline by January 1 (same as the motor vehicle use layer).


  2. Ben Lantow closed this discussion on 25 Oct, 2019 08:34 PM.

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