What's a Wayspot?

Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

Niantic's definition of a Wayspot is linked here:

Niantic Wayfarer is a one-of-a-kind community mapping program that allows you to directly shape your real-world adventures across all Niantic games. By participating in Niantic Wayfarer, Explorers become part of an interactive community and contribute to the development of the Niantic real-world map, which is the foundation for all Niantic games.

As a Wayfarer Explorer, you can nominate new Wayspots in your community, review others’ nominations, and contribute information or edits to existing Wayspots to help the Niantic map evolve in tandem with the real-world.

But I'm curious what it means to you? Is it a map to exciting things you can't wait to share with others? Is it a network of signs on a pathway of discovery? Is it sharing every bit of mundane infrastructure that technically meets criteria and makes a game a little more playable?

I'd love to hear your thoughts below! Personal definitions, direction you think it should go, what's interesting to you vs the mundane. What you like mapping!

What is a Wayspot to you?



  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    [....]something that educates me about my environment (e.g. a nature sign)

    These types of signs are something I never paid attention to before Wayfarer, now I low key love them! I'm basically an environmental engineer, now, because of Wayfarer. Even in absence of the signs, I've learned to identify native habitat patches, rain gardens, and bioretention cells. I don't mean to brag, but I could write a discretion on their benefits!

    I jest, but I do really enjoy these signs, now!

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 877 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My dream wayspots are those that align with my interests: I'm an avid watcher of birds, so many of my submitted spots are Wildlife Management or National Wildlife places, information signs, trail markers, and ideal spotting scope/binocular views. These are places I've discovered in years of leading trips and guiding groups, and I want to show these places to others. When people are exposed to and invested in the natural world, they're more likely to fight to preserve our natural spaces!

    While traveling around my state and its neighbors, I always enjoyed making stops at Roadside America-type attractions. Weird, quirky works of art, buildings, or historical remnants - you bet! If there's a two-story outhouse, a park with "the Torture Tree", a mural with a detailed story behind it, or a shop shaped like a duck....I want to see those things. I discovered a very cool science-based plaque in an area I thought I knew well, because a fine submitter had put it on the map (and I was working on my Unique Captures in Ingress). If I can learn something new about an area by using my in-game map to navigate - isn't that great fun?

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found a couple of interesting things yesterday. Not much to look at but I spent this morning delving into local history websites to find out more and got distracted by some other points that unfortunately there is nothing there now.

    I have bored friends 😂whilst walking along and giving them all the interesting little bits and pieces as we pass 🤦‍♀️

    So in urban areas I like to uncover key points of physical and social change and local significance. One of the things I found would not appear in any game so I might submit when I have time as it will take in excess of 2 years to make it way through.

    i don’t think most players from any game will give any of the waypoints much thought if they make into a game.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    What are your thoughts on bird boxes as POI? I've seen even the most mundane ones accepted by Niantic and one of mine own that was less a bird box and more a cat buffet last time I was there!

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    I want to write it up some day, but one of my favorite Wayfarer experiences was discovering a plaque that lead me to learning more about the local & national U.S. history that I was then able to discuss with my father who is a big history buff and hadn't known the information I discovered - but he shared the national connection.

    I do feel like a lot of people don't pay much attention to what gets added, but I personally have found more enjoyment lately in including as much information in my nominations as I can to help those who do discover it learn more.

  • MargariteDVille-INGMargariteDVille-ING Posts: 1,382 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 10

    No, attracting people to a birdhouse will scare away the birds, and ruin the plans of whoever owns it and put it there. Remember that for some games, you need to get close enough to touch the waypoint.

    Always think of the object's original purpose. A playground at a family counseling center is not a good waypoint. Nor is a food bank or blessing box - the people who need the services would be scared away by a group playing video games - or even one person standing there (or idling in their car), messing with their phone.

  • ScaryS0ul-PGOScaryS0ul-PGO Posts: 111 ✭✭✭

    In my area, i just nominate just so that we can have more stop. But oversea, i use them to see if there is anything interesting around that area

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    Interesting perspective, thanks! I don't want to digress too much more on bird houses, but for perspective these are the ones I had submitted. The top one is in a park in Iowa. Not sure what types of birds but the cone shaped houses seem intentional. The bottom is in Montana and feels a little cheeky - it's outside of a rural hotel.

    I have seen much more simple boxes accepted directly from Niantic (not even appeal or OPR, a friend of mine was able to get Niantic to directly review candidates for a park several years ago), but I wouldn't use those to endorse current nominations.

    I admit my reasoning for the above nominations were somewhat selfish at the time, but at the time they were things I viewed as eligible. If I was to nominate something similar today, I would try and focus more on something like a nearby viewing area (even benches) that help people observe nature.

  • The26thDoctor-PGOThe26thDoctor-PGO Posts: 411 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 11

    Something new, interesting or different that I might have ordinarily walked by and can find out more about after seeing it in game.

    Whether it's purely aesthetic, new information that I can investigate more, historic or relevant to the shaping of a local area are all fine by me.

  • RandomExploit-INGRandomExploit-ING Posts: 428 ✭✭✭✭

    In a new town you can find lots of interesting things you would have missed by opening up the various games that use the wayfarer database.

    I like how you can find routes and places by trying to reach a POI in the distance which you otherwise wouldn't have gone. In the same way I like showing interesting routes people would miss or not know about it by making trail markers in the middle of nowhere POI

    Just my made an interesting trail with some historical bridges visible to people in area who play and submit but who have never found it before. As they are becoming accepted a green patch on the map is now becoming an obvious trail between those POI. Knowing people will go there because of my submissions makes me happy just like the walk discovering them in the first place

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 12

    Interesting perspective, thanks! I don't want to digress too much more on bird houses, but for perspective these are the ones I had submitted. The top one is in a park in Iowa. Not sure what types of birds but the cone shaped houses seem intentional. The bottom is in Montana and feels a little cheeky - it's outside of a rural hotel.

    Purple Martin houses such as the one above are quite common, as Martins are attracted to gourds and have nested in structures such as these since Native American times at the latest. These gourd-like structures are merely a replacement for the real thing that once was so plentiful. Purple Martins are so good for humans - they consume pesky bugs at an amazing rate! I always give them their safe space. Like Chimney Swifts, which once nested in hollow trees but now nest in unused chimneys because most hollow trees are chopped down for insurance purposes lest dead trees fall on a toddler, or Peregrine Falcons who nest on downtown office buildings because we've blown up their familiar cliffs to add more housing for humans - some species adapt better to the presence of humans than others. That doesn't mean that these human-made workarounds meet any eligibility criteria.

    (sorry, we've hit upon a subject I'm pretty passionate about - and I can show you photos of oodles of identical, mass-produced, nesting structures to back up my feeling that these are ineligible as POI. People erect Purple Martin houses because these are a highly sociable bird that nests in colonies and they eat bugs. They don't meet Exploration criteria any more than a human nursery. I wouldn't encourage socialization or exercise near a nest. I'd love for @NianticTintino or his peers to weigh in.)

    Post edited by Shilfiell-ING on
  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    I thought that was a purple martin house but I wasn't positive - thanks for confirming that.

    As I said before, they were something (past tense) that I had viewed at the time as eligible, long before the current Wayspot criteria. If I need to be more obvious, I'll say that I don't find birdhouses to be eligible. I had asked your opinion to facilitate a conversion and hear a passion - exactly what I would hope a Wayspot could do. I did say that a nearby viewing area that I would assume the local land steward had installed would be a place where viewers or passerby were encouraged to stop by at could be focused on as a potential candidate.

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 877 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yep, I think we share a mindset here! And I'm sorry for being overly contentious on this issue - I do think there are times when Niantic's fear of specific criteria adds to confusion about whether nests and the like are eligible, and it's this failure of clarity that draws my ire, not the well-intentioned Wayfinders who submit them.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    Of course! And let's not forget that there is room for subjectivity, and unfortunately "interferes with native or natural life" is not a rejection reason. So we discuss, educate, and learn new perspectives from people's with different interests.

    Thanks for the "lively" discussion, as Giffard would say lbvs

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,874 Ambassador

    I like these takes! I was at a park with friends actively nominating and one friend commented about how he didn't "get" notice boards. Ironically, there was one near us that we checked out and it had info about local dining. We checked it out and discovered the most fun diner I've been at in a while - their book is **** shaped ground pork burgers!

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