What is a Controller?
Controllers are the key to ensuring orienteering events are safe, high-quality and fun.
They check the design of courses, control locations, mapping; and are responsible for overseeing the organisation of events, in particular ONSW’s safety requirements.
The role can seem 'dry' but it is also very rewarding. You get to oversee people enjoying well-set courses in great areas, you contribute to your club, and you learn more about the sport.
"I find that controlling a bush event improves my orienteering in the weeks and months afterwards," says one of our Level 3 controllers.
The role of the controller includes the following tasks:
• Checking initial plans with the organiser (access, car parking, map, courses) and the course setter (timetable, land restrictions, start and finish).
• Ensuring an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.
• Checking the 'armchair-planned' courses, being able to identify courses which infringe the rules or are of poor quality.
• Going to the area and checking that control sites and the mapping are fair for competitors.
• Checking final paperwork (final courses; course lengths and climbs; map corrections; control code allocations; course description sheets; overprinted maps).
• Checking arrangements with the organiser (car parking, including back-up for bad weather; safety; cancellation procedures; time keeping and back-up; sufficient officials, communications).
• Ensuring there is a process to check that electronic punching is working.
• Checking controls and punching on the day of the event.
• Using diplomacy to deal with any issues that arise.
Accredited Controllers are required to oversee all Major Events in NSW.
For minor events, where more than 100 competitors are expected to compete, ONSW recommends a controller be appointed, although the controller need not be an accredited controller. The Controller works with the Course Setter and Event Organiser to ensure that the event is of a high standard and that event technical requirements are met.
There are three levels of accreditation which are affiliated with the Australian Sports Commission’s National Officials Accreditation Scheme. Orienteering NSW and Orienteering Australia conduct courses from time to time for members wishing to gain accreditation.
Further information on event controlling is available on the OA Controllers page.
Current controllers seeking re-accreditation must spend a minimum number of hours over a four-year period. See here for details.
Controller's checklist (Word version for copy & paste)
Controller's checklist (PDF version for printing)
Controllers are responsible for risk management – some sample risk management plans are linked from the Event Organisers Documents web page.