Trimble-MyTopo Kills Topo Server, Intentionally Cripples Gaia GPS and Other Leading Apps

Update, March 2016: Trimble has discontinued all of their apps as of March 26, 2016. They list Gaia GPS as a recommended replacement for all Trimble and MyTopo apps.

Update: We now have our own USGS topo server. It’s live in our Android app now, and we’re pushing an update to Apple today. Thanks to all of our users for the flood of supportive emails, and thanks to our partner EarthNC (maker of Marine Charts) for standing up the topo server literally overnight.

I’m sorry folks, but as of today the MyTopo maps are dead in Gaia GPS. We should have an alternate topo source up later this week, but for now, users will be limited to the OpenCycleMap topos.

This was a competitive move by Trimble, following their acquisition of MyTopo this summer. We were given no warning, and they did this intentionally in order to cripple our app, as well as a leading outdoor app on Android, Backcountry Navigator. We found out when maps stopped showing up in our apps – no email, no phone call, no nothing. Their purpose was to mow down the competition, so that they could dominate with their line of inferior apps.

I understand the cold-blooded reasoning that would lead to this course of action, but I could never imagine making such an unprofessional move, regardless of the money at stake. And it’s much worse than just not warning us – they went as far as to lull us into believing this wouldn’t happen. When MyTopo was acquired, we were told that we would be warned about impending changes in the usage of their tile server. Furthermore, I have spent the last month and a half discussing my company being acquired by Trimble, all the while they were systematically plotting to ruin us instead.

What is even more disturbing about this is that Trimble is jeopardizing people’s lives, for money. I doubt it will work out that way, and I hope with all my soul and being that it will not, but it is simply irresponsible to pull maps from circulation with no warning. Despite our disclaimers and Terms of Use telling users that Gaia GPS can’t be relied on, people still use the app for critical navigation. If this move strands someone in the woods or gets a traveler lost overseas, Trimble will regret these machinations dearly.

And look at this scummy image they are serving up instead

If Trimble thinks this is the end of Gaia GPS, they are sorely mistaken. I don’t think they realize that my friends in the industry can replace the MyTopo server in a matter of days, and that they are coming to our aid to do just that. As we speak, our allies with expertise in maps and GIS are taking time away from their families and evenings to help us respond to this emergency and stand up a new topo server. While we’ll take some lumps over the course of the next few days, in the end we’ll go back to beating the tar out of Trimble on Android, iPhone, iPad, and everywhere else they try and compete with us. The end result of this move will simply be a black stain on the Trimble’s corporate name and the wicked corporate suits who dreamed it up.

The sad truth is that despite having vast marketing resources, and tons of money to spend on development, Trimble makes inferior apps. They brand them with well-known logos (Backpacker and Cabella’s), outsource development to people who don’t care, and then use vicious moves like this when their apps get dominated by Gaia GPS. So if they want to fight dirty, bring it. It just makes me want to redouble my efforts and beat them all the more.