Tjøme trail & code hackathon

Developing and field testing new functions for Trailguide

author profileBjørn Jarle Kvande, 21. May 2021

Tjøme and Nøtterøy

Last weekend we headed off to the islands of Tjøme and Nøtterøy in the Færder municipality south-west of Oslo, Norway. These islands have a very dense network of trails criss-crossing all over the islands and can entertain you for days. But they can be hard to find and especially navigate due to the amount of trail crossings you keep on meeting.

The rock slabs at Verdens Ende at the tip of Tjøme

The plan was to get lots of great biking done while at the same time test trailguide mounted on the handle-bars to see how we could make the app help you with live navigation while riding your bike in such a trail network.

Rental car filled with all the gear needed for three days

Navigation problems

The two islands of Tjøme and Nøtterøy is full of different trails going through open woods, deep woods, canyons, medows, over hills and ridges, and onto slab rock with super views over the archipelago.

There is always another trail going off in another direction every 100 meters, so it was clear that simply having trailguide on the handle bars was not enough. The buttons were too small and it was cumbersome having to click to find your location all the time.

These white flowers show up all over the forest floor in May

There are lots of these canyons made during the last ice age

Adjusting the user interface

Before the others got up I got some programming in to try to find a solution to some of the problems we experienced the day before. In the short time I mostly got the user interface adjusted so it could be configured to better handle glows while riding the bike.

So after a heavy breakfast designed to last most of the day, we were off into the sun riding for another six hours on these amazing islands.

One of many, many, many climbs on Nøtterøy. Those e-bikes were handy.

Adding a navigation mode

Having thought up a solution I think could work, and that would not be too hard to implement, I got up before the others again and started coding. Within half an hour I had a prototype up, mostly kept together with ducttape and string, and ran around checking if the dot would follow me. It did!

How coffe and pizza is turned into a trail app through code

Navigation mode is a success

We could not wait to test out our new solution, so in addition to my two friends with their Quad Lock solutions, I also strapped my phone onto the bike for some live testing.

Professional test harness for fresh software

The prototype worked really well, and it took us through the day almost without stopping at a single trail crossing. We knew were to go simply by glancing at the phone and see our dot dutifully following us.

The end of the trail. Denmark is next.

Luckily we could camp just beside the cabin of friends with a grill

Sleeping quarters for happy trail hunters

So the weekend was over, the prototype was a success, biking amazing, and we headed home for a day of replacing the ducttape and strings with proper test code and quality harnesses.

You can find the navigation mode from the settings menu.

With kind regards,
Bjørn Jarle
Developer in Chief