Help accessing CalTopo file map server from the HandyGPS app

matt.holly.m's Avatar


27 Aug, 2021 03:07 AM

My Android app HandyGPS provides a function to access tile map servers. Help page is:

It shows the CalTopo URL for the tile map server as:{z}/{x}/{y}.png (Zoom levels 2..16)
It also says "The only requirement is that you use {zoom} or {z}, {x} and {y} for the parameters for zoom-level, column and row. "

Question 1: Which base layers and overlays does Caltopo provide when I'm looking at the maps on the amazon file map server?

Question 2: Ideally, I would like to use desktop CalTopo to put together a couple of base layers along with a couple overlays and then be able to access those maps from the HandyGPS via the CalTopo file map server or some other way. Is this even possible? If I need to purchase one of the other CalTopo subscriptions then just let me know which one I need to purchase.


  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Meghan on 27 Aug, 2021 04:55 PM

    Meghan's Avatar

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for reaching out! Currently we offer WMS/WMTS endpoints for individual use in another app or software program. This does require a desktop subscription and you will be assigned a unique API key for your account. Most of our layers or overlays that do not have licensing restrictions and are not configurable are available via the API. The endpoint you shared is no longer functional and as stated above unique API keys are meant for individual users.


  2. Meghan closed this discussion on 27 Aug, 2021 04:55 PM.

  3. matt.holly.m re-opened this discussion on 27 Aug, 2021 09:35 PM

  4. 2 Posted by matt.holly.m on 27 Aug, 2021 09:35 PM

    matt.holly.m's Avatar

    Thanks for the quick reply! I will double check with HandyGPS to make sure they support WMTS. I have 2 more questions if you don't mind:

    1) Just to make sure I understand since I'm a bit new at this stuff. With the Desktop version I would be able to use the CalTopo to build my own custom map with layers/overlays/features, etc. and then access my maps via the provided API key (along with caltopo URL)?

    2) The 3 base layers I use the most are Forest Service, TF Outdoors, and MapBuilder Topo. The 3 most used Overlays I use are Contours, Slope Angle, and MapBuilder overlays. Regarding license restrictions....would I be able to use these to build my personal maps and access via the API ?


  5. Support Staff 3 Posted by Meghan on 27 Aug, 2021 11:26 PM

    Meghan's Avatar

    The WMS/WMTS endpoints allow you to bring CalTopo layers into other programs. This is an older blog post (for example, WMS/WMTS end points are now a desktop feature, not a pro feature as stated in the blog) but it provides good background on how these endpoints are commonly used: All the layers and overlays you asked about would be available; however have you checked out the CalTopo mobile app? I'm not sure what your exact goals are but if you are trying to build and access custom maps on your mobile device, the CalTopo mobile app provides the most seamless way to do that.

    Thank you,

  6. 4 Posted by matt.holly.m on 28 Aug, 2021 01:16 AM

    matt.holly.m's Avatar

    Thanks for all the good info Meghan.

    I am using the CalTopo Android mobile app for some backcountry stuff and I do like it, but the main issue is I've used HandyGPS for a very long time so it has tons of saved artifacts that I'm dependent on that I would have to convert over (somehow) into CalTopo. Over time I hope to convert over to just using CalTopo mobile.

    One more question: I read the article you referenced and one thing that stuck out is the sentence saying "CalTopo’s WMS API is only intended to have one layer turned on at a time. If you turn on multiple layers at once, you may get unexpected results". I realize this article is a bit dated but I need a bit more clarification. Does this mean that if I'm accesing the CalTopo API I should only expect to retrieve a map that has 1 layer applied to it? Or, will I be able to apply multiple layers to a single map and retrieve it with 1 API call?

    Thanks again,

  7. Support Staff 5 Posted by Meghan on 30 Aug, 2021 08:13 PM

    Meghan's Avatar

    If you can export your data from the HandyGPS app in one of the file types that CalTopo accepts (such as a GeoJSON or GPX), its usually pretty easy to then bring it into CalTopo. This article covers the basic process. It doesn't specifically reference HandyGPS but the overall process is the same.

    To answer your question, typically the WMS request handler will stack multiple comma-separated layers and the WMTS request handler will not. However, it also depends on the program or app you are using- I can't speak to HandyGPS specifically but it also has to do with how the client requests layers (1 at a time versus several)- for example QGIS has no issue stacking layers.

    Hope that helps!

  8. Meghan closed this discussion on 30 Aug, 2021 08:13 PM.

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