Critical Skills Training for Mobile Use

about this training

This is a training unit that you can use with your team to prepare field team members for using the CalTopo app when responding to a mission. It covers the basic requirements and skills needed to be effective with the program as a field responder.

This training assumes you have a team account subscription and all field team members are connected to that account. If you don't have a team account, please visit the user guide to learn more about how to share maps.

Set Up and Instructions:

Before using this training with your team, you need to add a training map to your account. To do this, create a new map with at least one marker. Ideally the marker will be located in your normal response area. Save the map to your team account, and name the map 'Mobile Skills Training.'

After you have created and saved the map, use the slides below to conduct the training, or send users to this page to have them go through it themselves.

Paricipants should complete the Tasks in blue text throughout the slideshow in order to gain practice at using the relevant features.

Caltopo Mobile Basics for Teams Preparedness

Additional References for Skills:

Field Version

If you choose to do a follow-up to the above training, below is an outline to consider using to create your training.

1. Choose and communicate a training location:

Consider if you will have good cell coverage or wifi at the meeting point. If not, field team members will have to do more prep work ahead of time in step 3 before meeting in person, and they may need some guidance.

2. Develop your scenario:

Create a CalTopo map to go with the scenario and put it in your team maps workspace. Keep it simple to start with. All you need is a marker for the LKP, and maybe one for the meeting place.

3. Prep the team:

  1. If they have not done so previously, all team members should download the CalTopo app and login ahead of time. Invite them to the team account if they are not already connected.
  2. If no cell coverage is available at the trailhead or meeting point, or is questionable, instruct team members to download base layers from home or in cell service before coming to the meeting site.
  3. Make sure your map from step 2 is in the team account, and let the team know the map name. Team members should open the map before arriving in the field to make sure it syncs.
  4. Don’t forget your usual training prep - including safety plan and expected gear.

4. Deployment:

  1. Communicate your Mapping Expectations:
    1. Team members should record a track to the training map. Before they leave the meeting point, have them start tracking, and tell them exactly how to name their track.
    2. Have team members turn on shared location if practical (ie if there is some or full cell service.) If no cell service, consider practicing with using inReach tracking and shared locations.
    3. Explain what and when team members should add markers to the map, and what to communicate via radio.
  2. Field Exercises:
    1. Navigate to LKP on the map while recording a track to the map. Report arrival via radio. Verbally communicate coordinates in two different coordinate systems.
    2. Provide a new set of coordinates over the radio, or via a clue at the LKP if you can go there and set it ahead of time. Team members should enter the coordinates into the app, add a marker and name it, and navigate to it. Radio in.
    3. If cell service has been available so far, team members should go into airplane mode to simulate using the mobile app offline. Repeat step ii with a new set of coordinates. Radio in.
  3. Return to base. Finish and save tracks. Turn off location sharing.


  1. What went well?
  2. Did anyone have trouble with a certain step?
  3. Were tracks named and saved correctly?
  4. How can you improve the process within your team?
  5. Back to Top