The matrix is the map of controls that riders use to plan their route in conjunction with the controls list. Typically, there are 50 to 60 controls on the Matrix, each control has a series of links to other controls and each of those links has an associated number points. Depending on which award you will be trying for will determine how many controls you need to visit and how may point you need to collect, a summary of the points and controls needed for each award can be found on the awards page.
When planning your route, it often helps to start at the final control and work backwards. If you plan on competing for one of the full awards or moonlight awardes, then you will need to finish at one of the designated final controls, there are normally 3 or 4 of them each year. If you are competing for one of the daytime awards then you can finish at any of the manned controls on the Matrix. Once you decided on your final control you can then work backwards until you reach your chosen start control.