Who We Are

CalTopo is the creation of Matt Jacobs as a solution to some challenges facing search and rescue members. Matt recognized some of these problems as a member of a search and rescue organization in the San Francisco Bay area in 2010. CalTopo was launched as a tool to integrate several layers of mapping information with tools searchers needed to use such as drawing objects onto maps, working in multiple coordinate systems, and several highly specific applications such as viewshed analysis for radio and cell phone locations, these features spun off to SAR Topo name as popularity of CalTopo as a backcountry planning tool for recreationalists increased.

CalTopo maps and tools are frequently used now nationwide and internationally by first responders as well as recreationalists to plan, navigate and return home safe from their backcountry adventures. What started as a hobby project in 2010 has now become a small and growing company. Matt began working full time on CalTopo in 2017 and has added several employees over the years since.

More about our team is found below.

Matt Jacobs

Founder

Matt started CalTopo in 2011, initially to provide better mapping tools for search and rescue. A part time project for years, it became his full time job in 2016. Residing in the small mountain town of Truckee CA, he is also a Wilderness EMT active with two different search and rescue teams.

mjacobs@caltopo.com

Matt Cosand

Software Engineer

Matt Cosand joined CalTopo full-time in May 2018 after working on a few projects as a contractor. Previously, he worked for nearly 20 years on enterprise software products at Microsoft and other companies in the Seattle area. When not at work, Matt and his family volunteer as SAR mission leaders and rope rescue instructors with King County Explorer Search and Rescue. (though since the team is a heavy user of SARTopo, work often follows him there).

Ben Lantow

Business Operations

Ben started with CalTopo in July 2019 as the "everything but development" guy. Ben’s responsibilities at CalTopo include a variety of marketing, business development, and financial tasks. Ben has a MBA from Kelley School of business at Indiana University and comes from a primarily medical background as a nurse and paramedic. He is also a field active member of Alpine Rescue Team based in Evergreen, CO.

blantow@caltopo.com

Barry Burton

Software Engineer

Barry joined the CalTopo team in October 2019. He brings experience building scalable backend systems and rich mobile interfaces from many years working at Fitbit. He is a lifelong trail runner who became a skier and climber while in grad school at Cornell. Now based in Truckee, he uses CalTopo to find interesting routes in the Sierra that just might go.

AJ Kaufmann

Software Engineer

AJ joined CalTopo in November 2019 to help out with whatever engineering problems need attention! Prior to that he worked for an enterprise cloud company developing a distributed file system and various other projects. Whether by foot or on skis, AJ is happiest on top of a summit scoping out neighboring peaks and planning future trips into the mountains!

Julie Vargo

Training and Customer Support

Julie became interested in CalTopo through her volunteer work with Inyo County SAR and Tahoe Nordic SAR and started with CalTopo in May 2020. Her work background is diverse, with experience in ecology, non profit management, small business startups, trail building, and guiding. Julie loves to be outside whether it be climbing, running, surfing, or gardening. Julie lives in California’s Sierra Nevada with her partner, two cats, and dog.

Meghan Twohig

Training and Customer Support

Meghan joined the CalTopo team in May 2020. Meghan has a MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut and she brings experience designing and implementing innovative curriculum from her years as an educator. She has also worked in a variety of other fields, including as an EMT and mountain bike coach. Whether on skis, bike or foot, Meghan is passionate about exploring the mountains outside of her home in Vail, CO and currently volunteers with Vail Mountain Rescue Group as a field member.

Javin Lacson

Software Engineer

Javin is based in San Diego and joined CalTopo in 2021 as a software engineer. He previously worked at Google, Skybox Imaging, Vertical Response, and Metaweb. Javin has a BSCS from Tulane University, and like AJ his favorite editor is Emacs. Javin enjoys trail running and rock climbing, and is a WFR.

Fabien Le Gallo

Software Engineer

Fabien joined Caltopo in January 2021 after working at Microsoft for 6 years. He brings experience building reactive user interfaces and scalable backends. Originally from France, he worked for 5 years at a startup before coming to the US. Avid cyclist, trail runner and skier in winter, he started mountaineering when he arrived in Washington. He now resides in Seattle where he enjoys his favorite activity of peak bagging during the beautiful Washington summers.

Kobe Pole

Special Projects

Kobe started with Caltopo in the spring of 2018 as the first "official" employee. He was focused on customer support, responding to questions on the help site and solving billing and account issues. He was integral in helping with some early app testing. Now in college at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Kobe still assists with miscellaneous projects such as videos and an extra set of hands when needed. Kobe has a background as a search and rescue team member with Marin County SAR in California, as well as with the National Park Service in Grand Teton and Grand Canyon.