The Trail Monitoring System Development Team

You can help

The projected started about two years ago with the idea of being able to see what the trails are like before leaving home. The original prototype was a few parts from Amazon, a old car battery, and a single solar panel. The device sent data to twitter allowing us to see the trails. Today, we are working on a system to provide more data and increased visibility to the trail conditions utilitizing modern technology through AWS cloud services. The project is being developed using the open source model. We are building out a prototype system and using the Hydrocut as our testing ground. We are working closely with the Hydrocut Committee to provide them software/hardware they can use as well as the community at large. What started as a system for the Hydrocut has grown into a system for all mountain bike trail systems. We intend to build out a system where mountain bike riders/trail users and trail organizations can communicate. We currently have a small team of software and hardware developers. We are not sure where this project will lead us, but, at least, we will be able solve the problem of where we can ride out bikes as as place to start.


After a successful round of "hiring", we have the hardware and software people we need to move the project forward. You are more than welcome to offer your skills, but, as of April 2021, we will save your info for later date. We do, however, have a need to build out the research team. If you have the skills and/or interest to conduct academic research, we want to hear from you. We think we have the ability to create patentable intellectual property around our sensor tech. See below for what we are looking for.

What we are looking for

We are looking for like minded individuals - mountain bikers - that see value in what we are doing. You may or may not have the skills we need, but are interested in learning. We do need people that have knowledge of technology we are deploying, but also want those who are looking to learn, to improve themselves, and pickup new skills. If you have wanted to learn a skill to move your career forward, but never had project to work on that can be used on the resume, we want you. If you a hardware engineer looking to get involved in software, connect with us. If you are a software engineer that needs to learn about the cloud, connect with us. If you are a student looking for experience for the resume, connect with us. You get the idea.

Projects and Skills

We are looking for people that have are or are willing to learn about:

  • Hardware

    This is where we have the biggest need. If you can program in C/C++ have embedded/microcontroller software experience or would like to learn, we want to take to you! However, we would gladly accept help in the following areas:

      • Embedded microcontroller development (ESP32/STM32)
        Electronic Circuit design
        PCB design (take schematic and develop a PCB for projection) - Orcad or KiCAD experience a plus, but not required
        Product prototyping including CAD design for cases and 3D printing. Access to a 3D printer a plus.
        RF hardware/radio design for remote trail sensors (Packet and/or LORA radio)


    Currently, we have a good software team but we are always looking for more. At the moment, we could really use an expert in AWS.

      • AWS Integration (cloud services development)
        AWS DevOps
        IOS and Android Development
        Embedded Software development (ESP32 IDF SDK and STM32 SDK)
        Web Site development (replace current website)
        Trail and weather sensor software

    Geology/Weather Science

    We think the current soil sensor tech is flawed. We are looking for someone with access to academic resources to dig into current research and find something better. This is more that electronic sensor development. We have hardware people to create sensors. What we do not have is someone to find what it is we need to measure. We think that we need to determine soil type and saturation levels to determine when trails are muddy before we can figure out how to measure it. We need people interested in doing research into what has already been done, and looking for new ways to detect mud, ice, etc.. This requires someone that might want to spend time out in the forest in the rain conducting experiments after reviewing existing literature, etc..

      • Study soil conditions and help develop a soil type independent moisture sensor


      • Mud detection
        Ice detection
        Ways of accurately counting people and types of trail users (how busy are the trails)
        Ways of accurately counting cars in the parking lot (how many parting spaces left)
  • We are working as an open source project run by volunteers. The Hydrocut/Waterloo Cycling Club is participating in the project as our first client and we are providing them with hardware and software to monitoring their trails. If you ever wanted to give back to the trails, but either never made it to a trail day or live too far away to make that possible, you can help with this project. We welcome anyone in the mountain bike community in Ontario or abroad. You need only access to the a computer. We truly are looking for people wanting to learn about new technology and that can dedicate their time to the project.

    Our code is currently hosted on Sensors are based on ESP32 microcontrollers. We are moving our data to AWS using AWS IoT Code, AWS Timestream database, and Grafana as the front end. We intend to make greater use of AWS as we investigate using AWS AI tools to analyze our data and images we collect from the trails. We currently have a working IOS app prototype and we are looking to add a Andriod app. The project is continously evolving as we learn what is possible. We have prototype system in place at the Synders trailhead, and we are looking to expand to the Glasglow trailhead this summer (Summer 2021). We would also like to find someone to research or investigate appropriate methods of soil and soil moisture detection. We are finding current technology does not indicate when dirt turns to mud. Research might have been done, but we need help looking into it.

    If you are interested in the project and getting involved, please send a email to info at trailmonitoringsystem dot com indicating your skills and what you like to get from the project. Expect a response back as to where you might fit in, but, by no means, will your be limited to your skillset. We strive to allow volunteers to learn.

    If you decide to join us, expect to be connected to our online collaboration tools such as Github, Confluence, Jira, etc.. Your time is yours, and while we want to people to help, we do expect you to ride your bike and live your life as well. The only expectation we have is that you keep us informed of what you can and can't commit to. Come join us!