Questions and Answers

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This is a list of common questions I have extracted from the forums amd your submission comments. 

Do I have to register for the TT Forums?

No. Once you have registered and paid for a TT event you will be advised of your login details.

It's a private chat room just for registered competitors which requires a separate username and password to your TT Login.

Competitors are encouraged to share their views and general (not solution) problems in their postings. Competitors and the event organisers can add their comments. The forums are therefore an essential resource to read for tips, tricks, latest news and rule changes.

Can I contact the organisers directly?

NO! Unless it is an administrative or private issue, in which case send a PM (Private Message) via the forums to "Crow".

Anything to do with rules, route cards or marking a route should be posted to the forums. That way everyone gets the benefit of any advice given by other competitors or the organisers.

How many and where should I mark points on the map?

The least possible to define your required route. Normally a point between each (significant, normally coloured road) junction is sufficient. You will need more if AutoP(i)lot chooses a different/shorter route that you don't want or extra points to force, say, a LWR at round a loop or to use a white road.

I can't get AP to follow the shortest route I want.

There's probably a good reason for that. For example, through a town centre AP will obey one-way streets and not take you the wrong way. Maybe you are trying to use a white road shortcut; if AP won't take you down the white you must assume it impassable. Illegal or impassable roads are never used in the route solution.
DON'T revert to manual marking i.e. switch off AP; none of the route, unless specifically mentioned, will require the use of manual marking. Unnecessary manual marking might lead to unwanted penalties.

What's an "off-router"?

When you mark your route, clicking on, or even just close to a road, will position your point at the nearest Google geocoded point - most of the time on the road you want to use. You might notice your point jump a small distance to be at the nearest point. Normally the geocoded points are pretty close together.
If you mark your route at OS level, it's possible that, unintentionally, the point gets positioned in a driveway or down a side road. This can easily happening if your route goes through a built-up area. By zooming into street level you'll be able see whether this has happened. Just drag your marker back onto the road you want.

Sometimes AP draws a straight line between marked points rather than following the road!

When you mark a point, in the background the new point and previous point are sent to Google's route planning system and it returns with the shortest (viable) route between the two points. Viable because one-way streets, private roads, and unsuitable (for driving) tracks are ignored. Very occasionally, the request to Google won't come back in a timely fashion (or maybe you have an Internet outage) and all the software can do is draw a straight-line between the points. This should only be a temporary hic-cup; wait a few seconds and drag your new marker slightly along the road and a correct route will appear.
Always be vigilant after marking each point to ensure there are no "straight-liners" particularly just before submitting your route for marking.

I'm pretty sure I've marked the correct route, but on a ReDo on a Route-Card Rally I see I'm a few seconds adrift at a TC!

It's probably one of two errors.
1) Most commonly it's an off-router somewhere. See above.
2) You have a wrong route. Have you perhaps, used when you shouldn't (coloured roads only), or not used when you should (all roads), a shortcut white road?

On a ReDo, study the results feedback to see where your cumulative distance drifts from the ideal. It will give you clues where your problem(s) might be.

I've just finished marking my route on a Route-Card Rally. Shall I submit it for marking?

Not yet. See above. Have you checked your route for "off-routers"? Have you checked your route for "straight-liners"? Have you looked at the forums recently in case there's anything relevant? All done?  ... 
If it's a ReDo route card, go ahead, but if the marking highlights problems/penalties, study where they've occurred from the feedback, anf fix them ALL before you re-submit.
If it's not a ReDo, remember this is your only chance; perhaps double-check before pushing the Submit button.

Shall I complete the route cards as quickly as possible? Isn't time important?

No and Yes/No.
Don't rush. You usually have 20 days to solve the route cards. Pace yourself and find quiet moments to concentate e.g. when your partner is glued to Strictly Come Dancing? (for non-UK competitors this seems to be a cult TV show on a Saturday night). Shutdown your email and lose your phone!
The detailed results do show stats of how long it took someone to solve a route card. Or to be exact, the time it took from opening a route card to the last (in a ReDo scenario) submission. It might be interesting to compare your time with other competitors.
Total time, for the best 10/11 route cards, will only be used as an ultimate tie-decider after points and furthest-cleanest.

I've no idea how to solve a particular route card. Can I move on and come back later?

Yes. You will be able to answer the route cards on Route-Card Rallies in any order. If it's a ReDo route card, you can go back and re-try multiple times. Normally put in for you to gain confidence in marking a route before you move on to the more testing stuff.
However, some route cards have hints (think "panic envelopes") which you can trade for additional penalties in minutes.

How do you calculate distances?

When you mark a couple of (major) points on the map, the start and end are sent to Google's Directions Service, which sends back a series of geocoded (minor, hidden) points linking the start and end via a driving route. These points are in the centre of narow roads, but left/right in the driving direction of wide/dual carriageway roads.
Each of those points has a latitude and longitude attached to it, which are converted to a an OS grid reference. This coveniently gives "flat Earth" x/y coordinates to sum the distance between all the points from start to end.
It is possible to ask Google to supply its own computed distance but this service is capped due to licensing restrictions. Not that it makes a lot of difference, less than 0.5% by my measurements..

Something odd! I've just had penalties in the results feedback from one of my submitted route cards and one of the cumulative distances has gone backwards?

That is feasible. The marking works by checking how close your route is to the hidden PCs. If your route is significantly wrong then, your closest proximity to a certain PC may occur too early in the ideal route.
Cumulative distance doesn't matter for PCs (just closeness and direction), but catches up with you for "timed" sections at TCs.

I don't understand the results table. All those 100s?

By default, everyone starts with 100 points on a Route-Card Rally, the maximum on any route card. Bracketed scores are the one/two highest which will be dropped.
As soon as someone starts a route card you will see a 100 in brackets and at that point a competitor appears in the leader board rather being Non-Classified (N/C).
After route submissions the 100 will be replaced with their actual score.
For Real-Time Rallies the default score is 6000 (seconds) - the equivalent of 100 minutes.

Should I save my route regularly? My browser crashed and I lost my route.

ABSOLUTELY - Save Regularly on a Route-Card Rally. Whilst the map marking system has been thoroghly checked on a clean PC environment using the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Edge, Opera, Firefox and Chrome, there may be be local issues (like a power cut, Internet interruption or other badly behaving software running in the background) which might influence the process and this is impossible to cater for.
The safefest mode of operation is to run your TT session as a single tab in a browser to reduce other influences.

Can I only play on a PC?

The route marking system has been designed on a PC and for a PC. The interface is browser-based so in theory it should work on something like an iPad or a Mac. However, some of the special keys and operations don't seem to work or be supported on some machines and operating systems. I've provded alternatives on the main marking tools, which has helped, and some competitors are making good use of these.

I've noticed that sometimes there are variations in the course of the roads between the OS and Street Level views, particularly on some of the white roads.

That's right. You should plot the route card at OS level and check your route on highest zoom Street level. When your route is unzoomed to OS view the tramlines may appear to be slightly out. Don't worry about this, your marked route will be compared with the master route at the highest zoom level.

Can I use my own OS maps for solving the Route Cards?

Yes, but only at the scale of 1:50000 - BUT BEWARE ... the maps I am making available to you are streamed in real-time directly from the OS map database; therefore there is the possibility that they may be more up-to-date than your paper maps.

Can I refer to other maps to plot my route? Some mapping sites use, for example, OS 1:25000 scale maps.

That's OK, BUT you should plot your route ONLY via the maps supplied for the Route Cards - unless otherwise stated.