Advice for TrailO planners by Lauri Kontkanen (FIN), World Champion WTOC 2011
(notes published originally on Facebook, 19/5/15 following comments on the 2015 Nordic Match by Remo Madella)
1. Make the task easier rather than too difficult if you don't have ability to do it in fair conditions. We always get a winner even if the course was easier and more fair than too difficult and unfair!
2. Announce tolerances for zero controls. This is one of the biggest fairness issues. If you have tolerances it is fair for all and you don't have to have any model courses to show the tolerance on actual competition. Every course setter has their own idea of tolerance, but how can competitors guess it on each competition? If a competitor guesses it wrong he can't ever win even if he/she is very talented.
3. Do not make lottery/guessing controls. Use course adviser to check all controls after you have set them. Ask him/her, did he/she answer it 100% correct. If not, change the task.
4. Make tasks according to the map accuracy. If you have an enlarged FootO map you can't have 1m zeros because then all the controls should have the same accuracy. In TrailO we usually don't need zeros less than 3m so please don't use smaller distances.
5. Make sure that all potential ways of solving the control give the same answer.
6. Imagine everything from the point of view of Para-competitors: path feasibility, all potential viewing and solving sight places must be equal to all, etc.
The same philosophy applies but tolerances are more important because competitors can't move on the chair.
The following minimum tolerances for zero controls have been developed during the last 3-4 years:
1. The closest flag on zero control is at least 2mm on the map from the correct spot.
2. Zeros which are less than 2mm on the map must be clearly solvable from the chair. This means that the wrong flag must be on another side of the feature or on wrong similar feature.
3. On point features at least 135 degrees on another side of the feature.
4. Do not use any visual tricks.