Supporting Rural & Remote Communities - Discussion

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  • Mormegil71-INGMormegil71-ING Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    I'm happy this is finally being adressed.

    I have been nagging about it several times.

    First of all, the area covered by the bonus location could be set to 8+1 L6 S2 cells. The strange "Home" location could be made to another bonus location. The location switches could be made more often, maybe 2 or four times a year.

    Those are the three things most easily done.

    After that, maybe teams of revs, especially targeting low density countries/areas could be set up. I'm a member of a group already doing that in Africa and the Middle east, and we've had some success. But the system is hampering us greatly.

  • TohtoriJamba-PGOTohtoriJamba-PGO Posts: 12 ✭✭


    This is why we need to drag swing sets, sandboxes next to the nature trails / middle of the forest so we can make more playground stops x) . I think those are overly presented as of late.


    Jokes aside, and knowing that this place is "not just for pokemon go players", but that's how I got here in the first place, so I'll give my point of view on this. Story time:


    I started playing on 2016 when the game was officially released during summer time. I was able download the first version of the game on my crappy Ipad and off I went to catch all rattatas and zubats I could find. I was disapointed when I couldn't find any pokemons "off the grid", as in any area that wasn't paved sidewalk / road marked on the map. Lack of stops also made the game more of an test of patience but if you have to think something positive about it, it did promote to move around more. I think during summer times, I spent about 3-4 hours outside / daily.


    I've been living most of my life in a small town / city areas with population of 6000-11 000 people, which technically isn't that big but not that small either. There are multiple small towns like this driving distance away from eachother but all of these shared the same concern: some places had less than 10 pokestops around 50 km radius, while others had around 20 in same radius. Sometimes 2 stops had anywhere between 7 to 14 kilometres distance between eachother, despite being on the same "area". Compared to the friend of mine who lives in Finlands capital (Helsinki) he had the same amount of stops just around 2 city streets away, less than 2 km walk distance. He could spin 5 of them from balcony.



    It took me over 3 years of playing around these small town areas to level up enough to just make it to the point where we can contribute more stops and make them more bearable to play. It's been fun process of updating all the area maps to Openstreetmaps to the point I was at one point, one of the top contributors in my country and I was approached by the guy who makes living by doing these map updates.


    I can't take all the credit for updating the map and making these games more fun to play for others because it has been culmination of persistence over long period of time and handful of dedicated people. And the process still goes to this date.



    But I can't help but feel we are missing out on so much, especially during community days and what not gatherings that cities have and anything remote / small town olayers / rural players. I can't help but feel scuffed.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Technically rhat was England you described, not UK 😜. Seeing as Glasgow and Edinburgh would be cities but in terms of size and population aren't aren't a percentage of London, its still different in the UK. Even what you describe as a hamlet I describe as a village.


    Theres also housing estates that are remote and don't have anything in them, ive driven through a couple of them and they didn't even have a post box, just a shop

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's hard to see how to do anything for rural areas, simple because, rural areas would want to submit things like lakes, lochs, rivers, forest areas. In Scotland at keast the proper forests do have signage for entrances to walking paths so thats not end of the world, but bodies of water will never pass as they would fall under natural features. The only way rural could really, truly, be helped is if natural feature was removed as a rejection criteria and certain acceptable examples made for natural features, I again mention lochs or lakes, but could also be water falls along walking paths, beauty spots etc., none of these would have signs, but they would make for amazing waypoints.


    If you mean for how to get things submitted and reviewed faster, yeah, nothing can be done for submitting, unless someone happens to drive through and atops, or plays in the area. I've done some remote subs, but thats only if I see it in passing, I can't know what's in an area if I'm not there

  • PkmnTrainerJ-INGPkmnTrainerJ-ING Posts: 3,237 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To Niantic and any US based companies, only London exists in the UK anyways. 😂

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thats not true, they are going to Edinburgh this weekend d for that whole niantic community day thing this weekend, so they at least know that place exists

  • PkmnTrainerJ-INGPkmnTrainerJ-ING Posts: 3,237 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ah yes. That will be good for them to see things that are a bit different.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Even then, Edinburgh is like the entry portal into Scotland, it's much posher there than say Glasgow lol

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,423 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Naturally speaking, rural and remote communities will have far less resources than urban areas to support a nomination's review. The Street View could be from 2008, the satellite view is fuzzy and outdated, and for the most part, such nominations will be reviewed by people who don't have any plans to visit such communities or could not care any less about reviewing something that doesn't benefit them. There's also the nuances of pedestrian access which has been previously mentioned in this thread, because some people expect tarmac across the entirety of the world. I strongly support and welcome any changes to more frequently update the bonus locations.

    We could take a slice out of another certain community's project browser. It's called the Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT). You could get a whole bunch of places, cities, cells or even entire countries or nations that are in dire need of reviewers based on backlog, average review time, and the current number of reviewers. Start projecting places in terms of when their backlogs might be caught up to a certain baseline from the amount of reviewers against the number of nominations coming in. Is this supposed designated bonus location for beginners, for reviewers starting out, or do they have a complexity that might be a bit more to handle for more seasoned, intermediate reviewers?

    In today's case, review mileage varies. Typically speaking, a photo in New South Wales will be approved within a week or two (mostly, unless it's in a certain backlog snake that is currently in Hurstville atm). Nominations also get approved moderately quickly within a week or two as well. But for some reason, edits are a whole different story. While Sydney will also have razor fast edit timeframes to reach a decision, Canberra which is about 225km south-west on the other hand will take months or even upwards to a year to get an edit in the main city back. But even go outside to Bathurst which is 200km west of Sydney and edits there will take almost forever. This is caused by the way edits are designed within the S2 system and are allocated as such.

    There are some nuances where an edit should be localised and reviewed by people with the local knowledge (such as location edits and such) but the current constricted allocation of edit reviews means that some places like rural New South Wales will never ever see an edit being resolved. The same applies to other communities with a severe lack of reviewers. Expand the cell ranges in which more trusted reviewers see a pool of edits. I'm sick of seeing "Good work!" pseudo-cooldown messages when I could be reviewing even more edits in rural places like Ivanhoe (gross) or just smashing through the never-ending photo reviews and I would like myself to see the real end, not some arbitrary system-induced one.

  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,276 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lets not confuse "lack of Waypoints in my village" with "lack of potential Waypoints".

    Niantic games, with their reliance of real world feature, will always be "better" in urban areas, thats just the way it is. Without changing the criteria for rural communities (theres a whole can of worms you do not want to open) I'm not sure what more can be done - if there are only a limited number of things to nominate at a loction there are only a limited number of things.

    Some of the suggestions above are good, such as allowing smaller bouns areas and faster and easier changing of these for reviewers, so they can "drop in" and help get those limited Waypoints that have been nominated in rural areas voted on and hopefully in game. If Niantic want to run "Wayfarer events" - ie do something with the reward being a "Wayfarer Event" logoed badge that appears in EVERY game you play then they need to look into this and be more flexible over changing bonus or "event" locations. A "Wayfarer Blitz" in game badge and / or avatar gear would be good, provided all the usual problematic questions about "reviewing quality, not just quantitiy" can be ironed out. If it is too much effort to fix the player accounts, then give us a special portal in Wayfarer that only brings up nominations for a specially selected area - there has to be a way of doing this rather than struggling to get upgrades and revised bonus locations sorted one at a time by @NianticGiffard .

    How about it - something like "Wayfarer Blitz Event - Madagascar Madness" - Tiered badge - 10 "correct" reviews - Bronze, 50 "correct" - Silver, 100 "correct" - Gold. Increment the "special event badge" counter in PoGo as well as the badge. All reviwing for this to be done over a 1 week specified period.

    Link the events. Another all game badge - "Wayfarer World Explorer" - participate in one Blitz, base badge WITH incremental unlimeted counter, 5 Blitzes - Silver - 25 - Gold - 50? Platinum. THe majority of player I know would rather earn a badge than buy some decoration for their stats.

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 1,941 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thinking out loud…..so it may be nonsense 😂

    someone mentioned heat maps before and it would be really useful to areas that might prove possible. There are some places that are just pretty barren. There are also some rural areas where the issue is mobile connectivity. There is a valley area near me where I have to shuffle around for a signal. For this reason I do think actually being at the location is important - no point in getting waypoint approved that no one can use. But I think having some sort of encouragement for experienced submitters going to a recognised low density area and submitting would be a positive move. They are certainly very satisfying - both in terms of exploration, research and end result. It often gives me some of my wayfarer mojo back. It needs some teasing out, and part of that might might be a lower hurdle to cross in terms of reviews required. If these new waypoints could be recognised as being like a bonus area and have a low number of these agreed to award an upgrade it could be an incentive.

    I don’t want attention to solely focus on the rural areas as the part that destroys my wayfarer mojo is the lack of movement on my normal suburban submissions (2 years plus) unless I work for upgrades. So a way to earn an upgrade (bankable) I could use would be a welcome reward for the effort.

  • MargariteDVille-INGMargariteDVille-ING Posts: 1,971 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 13

    On this site, when someone new posts a rejection - often our kind experienced Explorers look at their map, and suggest other places that could make good wayspots. Churches, parks, etc. Not for a gain for themselves. To help that person. And help make Niantic games better all over the world.

    How about... Lightship lists coordinates for areas without Wayspots... Trusted Explorers can sign up for a place... and they can make nominations there, even tho they're nowhere near it. (Maybe this privilege could be allowed once for every 1000 review agreements and 25 nominations accepted. Very exclusive.) These nominations would have to be without pictures, but that is acceptable on Lightship. Inexperienced gamers on the ground would have a better time understanding submitting a picture than a whole waypoint.


    Also, along the "review blitz" discussion... We could have a different place as theme each week. Alaska, India, Middle East, etc. Niantic could throw the 4Square data in the review pot for the place being highlighted. Anyone who reviews, um, 100 nominations there gets a badge with a map of the place. Even if this badge is only on our Wayfarer - it could be fun to collect them. Maybe they could show in this community too. (But remember that people crave game badges most.)

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 856 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is important in this issue is to separate the two and discuss whether we are talking about low-density areas in a country that already has many wayspots, or whether the country itself is a low-density area of wayspots.

    It seems to me that some people are confusing the two.


    The former is a problem that can be self-resolved since there are many wayfinders.

    However, the latter is not self-solving because there are few Wayfinders themselves.


    In the former case, for example, Japan, where I am located, is one of the densest countries in the world with about 9% of the world's wayspots and one wayspot for every 300 square meters of dwellable area.

    However, even in such a country, there are players who say that there are few Portals and Pokestops.

    But when I look at the nominations they claim so, most of them have a wayspot within 300 meters.

    Honestly, this just tells players to walk.

    Also, nominators can apply upgrades to have their nominations reviewed by reviewers throughout Japan. So this is a problem that can be self solved by players in that country.


    But if you look at the latter, for example, the African continent, there are still countries where there are only a few dozen wayspots.

    Naturally, the majority of countries do not have street view in place, smartphones are expensive and have low penetration rates, and there are various barriers such as lack of high-speed, high-capacity communication environments.

    There are fewer players in these countries and, of course, even fewer reviewers.

    This makes it almost impossible for them to solve their own problems.

    So it is these places we should be looking at.

    And Niantic should also encourage them to solve the problem by improving their system.

    This will ultimately benefit us and Niantic.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 390 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm going to take a different take.... I think we need some criteria adjust for rural.

    Starting with Restaurants. If there is no other restaurant within say 5 or 10 miles, it's going to be a community gathering spot. Even in the case of chain restaurants.

    Secondly, sports fields and schools. If field is over 100 yards from a school building it gets used heavily by the community and things in America like Friday Night Football become huge gatherings.

    Numbers might need tweaking. But more flexibility in criteria in rural submissions can help too

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,062 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd love it if Niantic could provide some guidance on community involvement, including demonstrations or tutorials for kickstarting community projects that could lead to more IRL POI for various communities. Maybe hopeful submitters can help with Eagle Scout projects, other youth organization efforts, or get involved with local government or art clubs to enhance their real-world neighborhoods and provide interesting stuff for all (not just those focused on phone games) to enjoy.

  • Aeryle88-PGOAeryle88-PGO Posts: 432 ✭✭✭

    Supporting rural is not a wayfarer-only problem.

    The first problem for rural is the lack of wayspot. The consequence is it's difficult or impossible to play Niantic games in rural area, so it's impossible to be able to submit something to create a wayspot.

    There is many possibilities to solve this problem:

    -Give the possibility to every player without level requirement to submit at least one thing per month (and keep the level requirement to unlock one submission per day).

    -find a way to encourage submitters to go into low wayspot area to submit things in theses area in priority.


    The second problem is a pokemon go problem (and just a little wayfarer): it's the lack of pokemon spawn in rural area. (some place have litterally no pokémon despite having wayspots).

    It's just a little connected to wayfarer because something this problem exist because the map is not correct, or because of a lack of wayspot.


    The third problem is eligility. In rural area we have trail markers that are eligible but very difficult to get validated. That's a problem.

    We also have many natural places... that are not eligible despite they are very good point of interest...

    The solution would be to allow natural features as wayspot, and do something against bad reviewers who reject trail markers.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 2,793 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are different issues with "rural places".

    One issue is priorization of "Rural nominations" so people can start playing in zones with not enough wayspots around them.

    So there's one person that has been able to nominate some PoI in a zone that is "empty", at the moment we know that Niantic has a system to prioritize Rural areas and most of us would agree that it needs some tweaking:

    1) Reduce the cell size. There are many places that share the cell with a big city many Km. away and so they lack the priorization that they would get otherwise.

    2) Increase the requirement for "number of wayspots" to be considered a high priority zone. It's not fun for a city player to see that some villages get their nominations processed in a few days and they have to wait years or upgrade all their nominations, this also has lead to abuse areas where people can nominate anything over and over again until it pass without worrying about reviewing at all or the quality of their nominations.

    A proposal to address these issues would be for example to define a cell size of maybe level 10, that's small enough so one town shouldn't affect another one, and mark as "high priority ones" those that have less than 6 wayspots in that cell, and then assign to each of those cells 10 high priority slots (minus existing wayspots).

    By assigning a maximum of priority slots on each cell the goal is that whenever someone submits a new nomination in one of those cells they get the high priority so it can be processed faster, but at the same time prevent abuse by people (multiple users/accounts, one user spamming their 40 nominations, ...) because each time a nomination is processed in that cell, it will use one of the priority slots, so it should be possible for any rural area to get enough wayspots, and if people have sent fake nominations that are rejected or removed from lightship, the priority slots have been used and that area can't keep on spamming bad nominations.

    All the numbers that I've provided are only examples, it should be studied and analized but I think that allowing a rural area to stop being a rural area is very important so city players can feel that they are not working for free, and also if the number of rural areas decrease, their priority can increase even further and expand the review zones more easily.

  • Traxi25-PGOTraxi25-PGO Posts: 57 Ambassador
    edited April 14

    @Indigobolt-PGO It is definitely difficult in Remote locations. A very insightful post thank you for taking the time to explain your unique situation.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 2,793 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 14

    Continuing with my previous post, another of the issues with rural/remote areas is the lack of enough reviewers to reach an outcome.

    As many people have stated, one possibility is to expand the review radius when a nomination has been in the "Review" status for too long.

    An additional option would be to offer a subset of reviewers (let's say those that are in good or great status, and a minimum of 1000 agreements), the option in their settings to declare themselves "global reviewers", those that opt-in to this status would get nominations from all over the world that have been queued or in review in a FIFO order, so those that get the message that "there's nothing more to review" and want to keep on contributing would get an infinite queue of nominations that have been waiting without the need of changing the bonus location and risking ending up in a place with very few pending nominations.

    By restricting the option to those that have a minimum requirements should prevent that people that don't properly understand how Wayfarer works could get there and mess with the nominations and being opt-in prevents that people that don't feel confident about foreign location or languages would try to skip them.

    Post edited by WheelTrekker-ING on
  • MargariteDVille-INGMargariteDVille-ING Posts: 1,971 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 14

    We definitely need a definition of "rural". I've seen people say it's anywhere that has no other wayspot in a 1 km radius. Wow, I'd never thought of it being that small. I would have said: if you have 6 Wayspots in 10 km, you're not "rural". But maybe I'm wrong. What does Niantic think?

    USE CASE: Ingress drones can only hop to portals within 1 km. So if mine got stuck, I'd go nominate something to get it through. (Often a neighborhood tennis court.) Then I'd have to decide if to (a) do ~150 reviews and prioritize this nomination above anything else I'd nominated, OR (b) accept that it would take 6 months to a year to get approved, and withdraw my drone to send it in another direction, and maybe come back when it's approved. OR (c) Learn to care a lot less.

    It would be a lot more fun if my nominations came back in a few days without upgrades. I would have let my drone wait for it. (Instead, I eventually chose option c.)

    Post edited by MargariteDVille-ING on
  • MelodyS88Chi-PGOMelodyS88Chi-PGO Posts: 627 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I also would definitely be open to reviewing in rural areas if it didn't lock me into a bonus location for a year.

  • HankWolfman-PGOHankWolfman-PGO Posts: 2,193 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The trouble with this is that places in the US are a lot more spread out than places in the UK as an example. There was a social media anecdote doing the rounds about this not too long back. So if you look at rural from a US definition using nothing but an arbitrary radius, it may be possible that pretty much nothing in the UK would reach rural status when that arbitrary radius is applied here.

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 856 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Let's clarify the definition of rural and remote areas that should be at issue in this topic.

    And the rural and remote areas that should be discussed in this thread are "places where high quality POIs exist but the nominations do not return results due to lack of reviewers".


    This is not a thread to discuss creating WAYSPOT in "places where POIs themselves do not exist."

    We can' t make WAYSPOT where there is no POI.

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 856 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 15

    Let me offer one topic on this matter of local and remote areas.

    There is a Twitter account called "nauru_japan".

    This popular account, which is supposed to be sent out by the government tourism office of the Republic of Nauru on the Pacific Ocean (no official accreditation attached), currently has 296,000 followers.

    The account was created in October 2020 and became a hot topic in Japan around January 2021.

    Since it was quite a hot topic, it naturally became a hot topic among wayfinders in Japan.

    At this time, there were only four wayspots in the Republic of Nauru.


    Later, certain wayfinders set up bonus locations, or POIs that had been nominated but remained dormant in Nauru without being reviewed due to geographical conditions, were able to see the light of day.

    As a result, there are now 41 wayspots (see Mission Authoring Tool) in a country with a population of only about 10,000 and an area of 21 square kilometers.


    And there are probably many more such places on the planet.

    We should make it our top priority.

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