Marking a Route
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Click here to download a PDF version of this page for printing.

Version 7 - January 22, 2018

Once you've registered for the 2017-2018 Championship, you may LOGIN using your Competitor Number and Password.

The procedures that you follow below will also apply to Route Cards on an event. You should also study the frequent Questions/Answers page.

Route Card Status

The Route Cards for the next event will be displayed on the Status page during the opening times for the event. However, Route Card 0 (for practice) will always be available. The Status page also provides additional details about the availability of Route Cards.

RC#: shows the route card number.

Status: Not available - the route card is not on the system; Unpaid - you haven't paid to access the competitive route cards; Not Open - the competition isn't open yet; Available - available and open; Started - your solving/plotting is in-progress; Complete - your solving/plotting has finished; Closed - the competition has closed.

Route Card/Name
The name of the route card. It may be a clue to the type of plotting required.

Route Card/ReDo?
A ReDo route card allows you to submit your solution a number of times for marking. Study the Result Feedback (see below) that you get after a submission, make changes to your route if necessary and submit for re-marking. ReDo route cards will have two numbers in the column. The first will show how many submissions you have made; the second the number of submissions possible. If the two numbers are the same you will not be able to change your route again, but time-free submissions will be still be possible if the master route is changed.

Click Yes in the RouteCard/Print column to display the route card in a convenient form for printing.

Click Yes in the RouteCard/View column to display the route card in a separate window.

Click on Yes in the Maps/View column to view the map you will use to mark your solution.

Click on Yes in the Maps/PDF column to save the map to your computer. Print out the map. This will be your paper map for solving a Route Card.
: The PDF map will only be at a scale of 1:50000 and shrunk to fit on A4 paper; it will not be of sufficient quality for very detailed plotting.

Click the START, CONTINUE or REDO? button in the Plot column and you will be taken to the Route Card plotting page.
START - if you've never accessed the route card before, START must be clicked before you can view/print the route card or retrieve any hints. This also starts the clock for timing how long you took to your final route submission.
CONTINUE - if you've accessed the route card before.
REDO? - if you are allowed to plot and submit the route card multiple times for marking (See Route Card/ReDo? column).

When you have finished marking your route solution click Yes in the Submit column - available if you haven't used up your submissions. This will take you to a form where you can add comments about your plotting or solution, rank the route card on a scale of 1 to 10, and then send your solution for automatic marking.

Once you've started a route card, you can view your plotted route by clicking Yes in the Route/Mine column.

When an event has finished you will be able to view the master route by clicking Yes in the Route/Solution column.
You don't have to solve Route Card 0. Its solution is always available for inspection. On the master route TCs are shown with a red circle; PCs with a blue circle. Hover over the circles to display the control name above the map.

Some Route Cards may have up to three hints available to help you with a solution or plotting. You may open a hint at any time during your solving/plotting period but will incur the one-off penalty in minutes shown in the hint column. The hints (if more than one) will be progressive in use (Hint 1 before Hint 2 before Hint 3) and information. If you are stuck on solving a Route Card always take the hints since this will give you the satisfaction of being able to submit a solution without incurring a maximum penalty.
To see a hint click the button. You will be asked to confirm your request before continuing.

Your practice objective is to accurately mark this route on a map and approach and depart the PCs in the right direction. You'll lose points if you don't visit the PCs correctly.

Correctly means:
a) that your marked route passes through the defined point of the correct location and
b) you visit the points immediately before and after the PC, and in the correct order.

You will need to be particularly careful when marking the route around small loops.

How to mark a route

On the Route Card Status page click REDO or CONTINUE under the Plot Column for Route Card 0. This takes you to the Route Card plotting page.

The working map for marking your route will be displayed. If this is the first time you've chosen this option for a route card, the starting point (TC1) will be marked with a small red square. If you are re-visiting, your map position, sizing and route will be displayed from your last saved visit.

Scale the Map
There are six scales/styles of map when marking a route: At the OS 1:50000 scale view there are two levels of scale. The lowest definition I call ZOS1 and the higher definition ZOS2. (always available)
In the OS Vector District view there are two levels of scale. The lowest definition I call ZDist1 and the higher definition ZDist2. (sometimes available - see example in Route Card 0)
At the OS Street View there are also two levels of scale. The lowest definition I call ZStreet1 and the higher definition ZStreet2. (always available)
When solving a Route Card use the detail you see at ZOS2 unless otherwise stated. When marking a route via AutoP(i)lot (see below) ZOS2 will usually be sufficient, but you are recommended to go to a Street View when, taking say, the longest route round a small triangle.
With AutoP(i)lot turned off, ZStreet1 or ZStreet2 is recommended.

NOTE: Not all of the following screen and keyboard operations work in every browser or on every machine, but at least one of the methods described should work.

There are several ways to scale/style the map.

1) Press the + key on your keyboard to increase the scale press the - key on your keyboard to reduce the scale.

2) Use the scroll wheel (if you have one) on your mouse. Forwards to increase the scale; backwards to reduce the scale.

3) If you have a touch screen, pinch two fingers together to increase the scale, or move two fingers apart to reduce the scale.

4) Click the Scale/Pan button in the panel at the top: two navigation controls will appear at the top left of the map. The lower control will scale in/out with the +/- buttons, and the vertical slider control will allow you to move through the scale levels. Uncheck the box to remove the controls.

To have the largest plotting area available, maximise your browser window since the map will grow to fit the available space (up to a maximum size of 1350 x 940 pixels). It is also recommended that you run your browser with a single tab for your plotting page for performance and stability.

OS 1:50000 Maps vs. Street View Maps
Occasionally there will be differences between the two types of map:
1) Street View might show triangles at junctions. Mark points on your route before and after the junction and let AP decide the route around the triangle.
2) Street View might show slight variations in the course of roads particularly at junctions or on white roads. Mark your route to follow the Street View course.
3) Some (usually white) roads may be missing on Street View. Mark your route along the road you see at ZOS2.
Given these anomalies, PCs will never be sited at points where such differences might arise.
4) Some 1:50000 features may be missing on Street View (e.g. Grid Lines, Spot Heights). If you need to mark a point at one of these features, do this at ZOS2.

Area/Extent of the Map
When you have the right scale of map, to change the area that is displayed:

1) Use the keyboard arrow keys to pan (in small increments) left, right, up and down. For larger increments use the keys Home, End, PgUp and PgDn.

2) Position the mouse cursor away from any marked route on the map (see below), Left click and keep the button held down. The mouse cursor will change from an arrow to a cross. Now drag the map into the area you require. Release the button when finished.
Depending upon the sensitivity of your mouse or your steady hand, the start of the dragging operation may be sometimes be interpreted as a left-click. If you find that this intrudes on marking the points on your route tick the Freeze checkbox (top right of screen)

3) If you have a touch screen touch the map and drag in any direction.

4) Check the Scale/Pan box in the panel at the top: two navigation controls will appear at the top left of the map. The upper control has clickable arrows to pan (large increments) left, right, up and down. Uncheck the box to remove the controls.

On most browers you can press the F11 key or Win-Shift-Enter keys to make a window/tab full screen to give your map a greater work area.

Note: You will not be able to drag the map beyond the boundaries specified for the Route Card.

Zoom the Map
The options above usually only change the scale of the map being viewed. If you wish to zoom the map (actually the whole plotting window) up or down i.e. keep the scale but increase/decrease the size of the map window use the Zoom dropdown button. You have a zoom range of 0.5 to 2.0 in o.1 increments. Zoom is a bit of a hack to allow you to inspect parts of the map (It doesn't work in the Firefox browser). DO NOT use it to mark points on the map - they will probably appear in the wrong position!

See also the Spy feature below.

Marking Points
There are two methods: 1) AutoP(i)lot (AP) and 2) Manual.

AP is an automatic means of joining two points by the shortest route following roads that have been digitally encoded in Google Maps. It is the default and standard method when you start map marking.

The Manual method should be used for parts of your route which are not automatically recognised by AP. Typically this might be for tracks and byways (usually white roads) which have not been digitised for use by AP, or possibly to get you across a river where there is no road! The manual method will only be available if any parts of the route require manual marking. You will be advised on the route card and an AutoP(i)lot checkbox will appear allowing you to toggle between AP and Manual.

Marking Points (AP)
Usually map style ZOS2 will be most appropriate to AP your route. I recommend that you check and adjust your route (if necessary) at map style ZStreet2 to ensure the correct roads and small loops have been followed as required.

You mark a point on the route with a left mouse double-click (but see Click2 below). Your mouse double-click need only be anywhere on the required road since it will be moved to the nearest digitised point on the road. (Note: if you are a bit wayward with your clicking you may end up with a point in a side road or someone's driveway! This is termed an"off-router") A small red square with a dot in the middle will appear. Your first point will already be marked as the Time Control at the start of a section.

Your next and subsequent points should ideally be between each junction on your route. After a short delay, AP will construct a shortest distance route between each consecutive pair of points. Keep this in mind particularly when taking a route round triangles - you should ensure your points connect the closest sides of the triangle. AP may double back on itself to take a shortest route if you are not precise enough; AP doesn't know that you can't use the same road twice.

Here's an example for illustration. The solid black tramline has been used since this gives a better picture of the route at this map style.
Note the marking at the triangles to force AP the long way round. Also note that in some cases the automatically plotted route between points doesn't appear to follow the roads. This is normal because of the resolution on the OS 1:50000 scale maps. If you go to Street Views you should see that your tramline will usually be close to the centre of the road.


Marking Points (Manually)
Use map style ZStreet2 to manually mark your route. You mark a point on the route with a left mouse double-click (but see Click2 below). Your mouse double-click should be in the middle of the road. A small red square with a dot in the middle will appear. Your first point will already be marked as the Time Control at the start of a section.

Your next and subsequent points should be at the next bend or curvature in the road, and straight "tramlines" will be added to connect the points. The objective is to create a sequence of straight line segments which trace the route as accurately as possible.

Here's an example for illustration. Note the marking at the small triangle before you join the "yellow" road (designating a "B" road at this scale). There could be a Passage Control on the triangle so I have been very deliberate with my clicking to show the roads used and the direction of approach and departure. Generally, if you achieve a marking which covers the road (using the twin grey style of tramline at ZStreet2) you will have no problem in visiting the hidden Controls correctly.

"White" Roads
Because AP (or rather the Google background process) is geared towards public, driveable roads, be precise with your clicking on "white" roads, perhaps when trying to choose a shortest route that doesn't use "coloured roads only". Some whites are partially or completely "unclickable". When this is the case - unless you are advised otherwise - treat such roads as out-of-bounds. 

Moving points:
Hover the mouse cursor over one of the red squares; click the left button and hold down; drag the square to a new position; release the left button. New tramlines are drawn from the previous point and to the next point.
Note: If you don't position exactly over a red square your dragging operation will drag the map instead.

When AP is switched off the two new tramlines will be straight lines joining the points.
With AP switched on, new road following routes will be drawn between the points. Remember that the two new routes will be independently calculated as shortest routes. Depending upon where you drag your point, you may not get the result you expected. Inserting additional points before moving will usually resolve any inconsistencies.

Deleting points:
1) Position your cursor within 200 map metres of a point and right click.

2) If right click doesn't work, or you have only a single button mouse: position your cursor within 200 map metres of a point hold down the Ctrl key and left mouse double-click (or single-click if Click2 - see below - is disabled).

3) Click the Delete Mode button in the control panel at the top of the screen. This will toggle the left mouse button clicking from inserting to deleting. Position your cursor within 200 map metres of a point and left mouse double-click (or single-click if Click2 - see below - is disabled). Click the Delete Mode button again to toggle back to inserting.

When AP is switched off a straight tramline will be drawn between the previous and next points.
With AP switched on a new road following shortest route will be drawn between the previous and next points.

Note: You can't delete or drag the first point on a route.

Inserting points:
Position the cursor close to the centre of the tramline where you want to insert a point and left double-click your mouse (but see Click2 below).

When AP is switched off the new point will be placed at the nearest point on your existing route.
With AP switched on the new point will be placed at the nearest intermediate (invisible) AP point on your existing route.

Note: Very occasionally AP will draw a straight line between points ("straight-liner") rather than follow the road. This will occur if the Google Servers are busy or you have a network outage and a pop-up message should highlight the fact. Just wait a few seconds and carry out your operation again. Don't leave "straight-liners" on your map as this may incur missed control or "time" penalties.

Your last point
Continue marking points to the end of navigation (EOR- End of Regularity) to define the route.

Location Information
In the references panel immediately above the map, the position of the cursor is continuously displayed as an OS Grid Reference (grid lettered 8-digits and a full numeric 12-digits) and as a Latitude and Longitude (with decimal minutes and seconds, minutes and seconds, and decimal degrees).
This information may be hidden for certain Route Cards.

Map Marking Information
In the line above the Location Information there are five boxes which will be displayed when you hover over one of your marked points. East: The OS Grid Easting; North: The OS Grid Northing; Points: The sequence number of your marked point/the sequence number of all the points (including the invisible ones between marked points); Distance: The distance in miles of the marked point from the start of the route. Control: Any additional information - this is used mostly for controls and route checks when displaying a route card solution.
Distance may be hidden for certain Route Cards.

Control Panel Buttons

If you've made a right muck-up of marking your route and would like to start over, the Kill button will remove your route except for the first (TC1) marker. When you click on the button you will need to hold down the Ctrl key. A pop-up question will ask for confirmation before carrying out the kill process.

A checkbox to prevent dragging the map. See Area of the Map above.

To hide the marker points and route click this button. This is useful if you want to see map detail underneath your markings. Click again to re-display.
You can also use the Pause/Break key (if you have one) to do the same thing. Hold down to hide, release to re-display.

The default tramline style (#1) to mark the route is a black line with a grey inner. If you want a different style or colour clicking the button will cycle round a series of 9 different tramlines. Pressing the F2 key will have the same effect on some systems. Your chosen style will be saved for your next plotting session.

Delete Mode
The function of Delete Mode is described above in Deleting Points.

The function of the button is described above in Scale the Map and Area/Extent of the Map.

If you are displaying the map in the highest 1:50000 scale (ZOS2), clicking the button will launch a Magnifying Glass. A kilometre-size empty square will appear top left of the map. Move your mouse pointer to the square and it will attach itself to the pointer. You can now drag the square across the map and you'll see a x2 version of the clean map (not your tramlines) underneath.

When you have finished magnifying, drag the cursor to the edge of the map to let go of the square and click the Spy button again.

The function of the button is described above in Zoom the Map.

This will usually be fixed as On. If manual marking is required at any time (you will be advised on the route card) you will be able to toggle between on and off.

The default operation for marking or inserting a point is to double left-click (the button shows 2). This avoids any conflict when dragging the map or dragging existing points which requires a single left-click to start the operation.
However, if you have a steady hand and precise mouse, you may wish is revert to a single left-click (button shows 1) operation for marking or inserting. The Clicks button will toggle between the two values.

Timing Point
Some route cards (Regularities) will have an intermediate "Timing Point" (TP) to be visited. When this is the case the Timing Point button will be present.
The instructions on the route cards will tell you how to calculate the location of the TP; this may be a simple statement like "10 miles from the start" or more complicated like "1.5 miles after the last bridge". Make sure you place one of your route points at where you think the TP is located. Click the button, hover over your point and left-click your mouse. The red square will change to a green circle. If you had already had a TP marked the old one will be restored to a red square.
Go to Street View to micro-adjust your location to the correct distance.

On an iPad (only) there is now an input box to the right of the Timing Point check box. Touch the Major Point where you want a TP; the (major) number of that point will be displayed in the control panel above the map. Enter that number in the new input box. Touch the Timing Point check box. The box will be briefly ticked and the newly-entered point number will be reset to zero. On the map you will now see a green-circle TP at your selected point. If you had an existing TP, it will be removed and converted to a simple point. Not ideal, but then the inherent cursorless design of an iPad isn't ideal for electronic table-topping.

Saving your route:
At any point you can save your marked route so far by clicking one of the Save buttons. Your marked map display settings and position will be stored.
Save regularly. You can save as many times as you like before you submit your route for marking.

Submitting Your Route.

Before you save your route for the last time go to Street View and look for "off-routers". These are marked points which are just off your intended route down a side road or in someone's drive way. They'll look something like this:
Off Router
Simply drag the marker to the centre of your intended road.
Small imperfections like this may incur a missed PC or timing penalty.

Also eliminate any "straight-liners". See Inserting Points above.

When you exit the ploting screen you will be returned to the Route Card Status page. Press Yes under the Route Card/Submit column.

In the Submit Route? form enter any comments about the Route Card or your solution, and use the dropdown box to rank how much you enjoyed the Route Card. Press the Submit Route button.

On an event after this point you will not be able to access the Route Card page unless a Route Card is flagged as ReDo. On Redo Route Cards, like Route Card 0, you can submit a solution a number of times until you have mastered the route marking procedures and, ideally, end up with zero penalties.

Your route will be compared with the master route and you will be taken to the Result Feedback page.

Result Feedback

A table will show how well you did in the following columns:

TC1, the list of undisclosed PCs and TCs

Cumulative Distance - Yours:
Your cumulative route distance to visit the exact location of the control. If no distance is shown you've missed the control.

Cumulative Distance - Ideal:
The master route cumulative distance to each of the controls. By comparing the Ideal with Yours you can gauge how well your marking matches the master route.

Timing Distance - Yours:
TCs only. Your cumulative route distance from the last TC. If no distance is shown you've missed the control.
If you've followed the route correctly your distance should match or very closely match the ideal inter-TC distance (see below). If your distance devates from the ideal by more than 0.0083 miles (equivalent to one second of time) it will be assumed you have wrong-slotted or shortcut the ideal route and will be penalised (see Regulations for how this is calculated). If you missed the previous TC there will be no "time" penalties.

Timing Distance - Ideal:
TCs only. The master route cumulative distance from the last TC.
Your Closest (metres)
How close your route passes to a particular control. If you've followed the correct route, this should be 0. Greater than  that and your number will be shown in red and you will be deemed to have missed the control. Missing a PC = 5 marks; missing a TC = 10 marks.

Closest Point -Yours
For information only - your numbered point which was closest to the control. This includes the via points you clicked and the invisible ones between.

Closet Point - Ideal
For information only - the numbered point of the master route where a control was located.

You will approach a control from the right direction if you visit the point immediately prior to the control point. The column will show Y(Yes/Correct) or a red X(Incorrect). Incorrect approach is penalised: PC = 5 marks; TC = 10 marks.

You will depart a control in the right direction if you visit the point immediately after to the control point. The column will show Y(Yes/Correct) or a red X(Incorrect). Incorrect departure is penalised: PC = 5 marks; TC = 10 marks.

Your penalty at each control highlighted in red. There will be additinal penalty rows is you have taken any hints for the route card.

For reference the total number of points on your route and the master route. This will be greater than the point number of the last TC; the final point being at the end of the navigation (End of Regularity - EOR).
The total penalties are shown in red. If your total penalties exceed 100 marks they will be capped to 100 and flagged with an asterisk.

For Route Card 0 or other Redo Route Cards experiment with deliberately marking an incorrect route so that you understand the penalty system.

If you have any queries regarding marking a route please post them to the TTR Forum so the answers can be shared with all competitors.