Too many POIs & nominations appearing at schools

TL;DR: Please be weary when nominating a church as it may also be registered as a private school, which makes it ineligible. Additionally, please make sure that the wayspot you're submitting is not on public school property. The key word is "school", not "public".

Basically, the criteria that makes it ineligible is greater than the criteria that makes it eligible. If it fails one of the ineligibility checks, it fails. So being a school (Sunday school does not count), causes any other criteria to be null and void.

I've been noticing lately a lot of nominations appearing at schools. Some submitters mistakenly are honest and say it's on school grounds, which is an easy no. Others don't mention the school, but if you look at the map, you can see it's on school property.

It doesn't matter if the public has access to it outside of school hours, it is still a school and Niantic made it clear that pre-K through 12 are not eligible for any wayspots. There are numerous concerns as to why. Playgrounds, ball fields, cool art, et cetera, if they are on school grounds, they are not eligible.

What people are missing though are private schools. Many churches are also registered as private schools. I've seen live POIs at private religious schools. Yes, they also serve as a church, but at the end of the day, it is still registered as a school. You can easily Google search "registered public and private schools in [city name]" and you will get a list.

We all want more POIs to go through, but we need to be accurate. If you're driving around and you see a church with a K-5 enrollment sign out on its lawn, it's also a school. If it has the word "academy" on it, it's more than likely a school.

I've seen many long-standing POIs gone because they later turned out to be serving as a school as well.

The only exception are colleges and universities. While the game is a major distraction (I had 3 stops in lure range for 2 semesters), students do live on campus. Those are ok because that is their residential neighborhood.

But we need to be careful with what we nominate as education is very important. We do not want our young students distracted and we do not need random people going on campus to play any of these games.

Personally, I think that no POIs should be approved a certain distance from schools. I've seen a restaurant on the same block as an elementary school have an active POI. A kid could sneak off to go catch something there. We have a gym across the street from an elementary school and by street I mean busy/dangerous highway with no traffic lights in that area. The POI is technically at an approved location, but it's right there. Even with the 80m distance, you still need to stand on the edge of the sidewalk to reach it.

As one who is soon to be working within the field of education, I take heart to this. The argument that "it's nice to have something close for teachers/staff to interact with" does not work. They're there to do their job, not to play a video game.

So if you get denied for your nomination being on school grounds, know that it was looked into either by the map or by comparing the location with the school registry or even the associated website if applicable.

While this is definitely an unpopular opinion, I think that as responsible wayfarers, we should take a second look at our active POIs to be certain they are not on public or private school grounds. I do not know the behind-the-scenes agreements made to allow games like this to work, but I imagine that rules were set for a reason, and having active POIs at locations could potentially put the games at risk for an accidental violation. While Niantic does not always catch every single nomination we submit, they are trusting us to be responsible on their behalf, so we need to make sure we are sticking to the rules that are set.

It would take a lot of work, but using the Intel Ingress map, we could go through our area's POIs, find the bad ones, and report them. Yeah, it is a bummer to lose a POI, but there are reasons these rules are set in place.


  • ZeIdaSymphony-PGOZeIdaSymphony-PGO Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    It depends on the distance. It should seem far enough to not tempt a young student to make a bad choice for a game. And this is for GO or Bloom or even Ingress as I suppose that could be fun. GO is the most popular game from Niantic now. It has surpassed Ingress players by far.

    The POI I was referring to is basically on the sidewalk, across the street. Most church POIs are on the physical building which are deeper into the property away from the street.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Too bad people can't use common sense :<

    Anything on school property is ineligible, but it shouldn't need to be that way. A high school football, baseball, field that is far enough from the school building shouldn't need to be rejected. Like if its accross a large parking lot, and out of interaction range from the school building.

    People not using common sense though is why we cant have nice things (or need blanket rules)

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Near me, there's an elementary school who had a teacher pass away. The school district ceded some of its land to the town and created a small park named for that teacher. This park is an official town park, but its grounds directly abut the elementary school. One of the two waypoints at this pocket park is a Pokemon Go Gym that's actually reachable/interactive from inside the school itself.'s a town park, appears on the parks listing website, and waypoints there are technically acceptable.

  • ZeIdaSymphony-PGOZeIdaSymphony-PGO Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    This could be case by case then. The problem is though that if teachers aren't able to keep phones from students during say PE, then this could divert focus from class towards the game.

    This situation, I would say that the gym should not be there because of how accessible it is to the school. Now if the gym could be moved to another part of the park, far enough away from the school to be out of reach, but still be within the park boundaries to be an accurate location, then that would be ok.

    But the greater issue is that this game is a major distraction and not all schools have strict phone policies. I was able to have my game running in class, using the Pokeball Plus, and have little issues. It was still a distraction that I could have done without. It also doesn't help that I'm ADHD which doesn't exactly help me focus on school.

    I know that Niantic can set timers on gyms at places that close during certain times. They could lock the POIs here during school hours. Basically from 8 to 3 M-F, open during the Summer and that section of Winter. This way the park can still keep it's POIs and the school is safe from distraction. Also, most are working during those hours anyway, so there shouldn't be an issue with that.

  • PkmnTrainerJ-INGPkmnTrainerJ-ING Posts: 5,049 Ambassador

    On this, GO may be more popular currently, but it doesn’t mean it’s only game that should be considered.

    As mentioned with this church POI, it’s literally across the road. I don’t know if you could access it from the school with the extra distance that GO gets but I suspect so.

    However it’s been there since the early days of Ingress and I haven’t heard any complaints.

  • rodensteiner-INGrodensteiner-ING Posts: 1,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    well, i never thought "Niantic doesnt want POI at schools because children would play Pokemon Go", i always thought that the pokemon car-traffic at schools should be reduced to a minimum.

    i never wanted to have CarRaid-Trains pull up at schools.

  • ZeIdaSymphony-PGOZeIdaSymphony-PGO Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    There are thousands of potential POIs all around, so fixing the ones near schools will not **** anyone. If they want more, make more. That’s what we’re doing.

    Its that but education is important and I would think that as far as legal aspects go in allowing games like this, that schools are protected for both keeping people away from school grounds AND keeping the students focused on education.

    Just because others have something does not justify adding more to the problem. Niantic values education. There is education within exploration. Let’s not hinder it by adding more distractions. There are many more active, and yet-to-be POIs.

    Going to church and believing in a deity is a choice. It is not required by law (in the US and most progressive countries that have games like this), and churches are not required for faith per their belief system. Other than another form of entertainment, and I use that term loosely, churches don’t necessarily serve a needed service. The world would still turn if physical churches were gone as belief is not physical. I would prefer non-historical churches to not be eligible as I’ve seen them push their agendas via the game. That ability was limited, but you can still go to that church gym and physically see their message on a board, and sometimes it’s not always nice.

    Inside of offices I think is a bit silly as as wayfinders we can’t verify it’s even there in the first place. Adults however, for the most part, have established self-control with age and can focus on work or play during appropriate times. Businesses have the right to opt out of their properties having active POIs on them if they so choose.

    Players should not be going inside of a business to play. If they are a customer at that moment, that’s a different story. Taking up parking spots of actual customers is also problematic. As I said above, the business can opt out of any POIs if they become problematic.

    Both 2 & 3, players need to be respectful of the location they are playing as it is a private property and serves a purpose as a business.

    If the playground has ample parking and there are rules posted that it is public, no issues. If players are not interfering with the actual attendees, that’s fine too. And we know bad adults have used this game to harm children, but that’s a very small amount. As long as the playground is in a public area, they are safe. I’m residential communities that offer nothing for the general public, I personally do not see the need for players to linger there. The POIs are valid, but players who do not live there need to be respectful of the neighborhood. I’ve seen more neighborhood watch signs go up since 2016. The ones in my neighborhood went up in 2019.

    If it’s public and not designed for a specific area such as a school, business, residential community, there’s really no problem. But even in the latter, we still need to be careful where we put stuff. I see residential communities that have private property signs. That means “too bad if you do not live here or have business here,” but players do it anyway.

    At the end of the day, I side with education over anything else. The more focused on school our kids are, the better they will perform. Business and churches can opt out of POIs but I do think they should have the option to say no if one is submitted. It is their brand/logo/property we are using for the game(s), and it’s really up to them to decide. It can attract more business but it can also cause regular attendees to be bothered.

    We had a woman remove a gym from her home which was a historical firehouse. It was already a bad neighborhood and adding players gathering there was uncomfortable to her. Unfortunately for her, the library playground, which was ~3 feet from her house spawned a new gym, so really nothing changed.

    That playground is often used for drug use, prostitution, and other bad activities. The police department are active at clearing that area out. It shouldn’t be a POI to protect players from accidentally getting involved with that crowd as well as out of respect for the person who lives there and simply wants less people going there than there needs to be.

    These are things all wayfinders should consider when submitting a new POI. We know our neighborhoods. We know where it isn’t safe. We should be considering this before we submit because putting POIs in known areas of danger is not what anyone wants.

  • TrevorAlan-PGOTrevorAlan-PGO Posts: 992 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The whole argument about "it's too CLOSE to a school" is invalid.

    Now, I don't know for sure... But I'm fairly certain that the "No K-12 School" ban is for the same reason as "No Military Bases" ban... when Pokemon Go came out, a bunch of oversights in the game-play blew up in Niantic's faces... And when the got those few bad PR news articles about people trespassing, trespassing on a base, trespassing on a school, kids playing in class and teachers going to the news about it, people getting in car accidents playing Pokemon Go... They went berserk and "banned" all these things to quell the news outlets...

    Military bases should be unbanned, heck under the same idea maybe schools should be unbanned.

    Cemeteries were also a hot button issue during that time too, hence why a lot of Pokemon Go waypoints are gone, but still exists in Ingress, because the original Ingress idea was "old things are best to be POIs?". But I think the ban on those makes sense since it is super disrespectful, I sure as hell wouldn't want people playing games on their phones around my parents' graves.

    IDK, I think there's room for discussion on all these points, but the angle of this attack is all wrong...

    You have to look at WHY the school rule (and others) were put in place, theres no proximity rule, Niantic doesn't care about "distracting children from their studies". It's all to clean up their viral popularity explosion and bad PR when PoGo launched...

  • feliscybernicus-PGOfeliscybernicus-PGO Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    It indeed isn't within our judgemental power to determine wheter a kid is technically able to reach a stop or gym during class and it isn't a criteria to reject a submission. It's the school's responsibility to enforce the type of rules that either say no mobile phones during school hours, on class, or something, or that games should be locked during school hours or so.

    This rule's intention was never to stop kids from playing during school hours.

    To the best of my understanding, Niantic has, as I've been previously told, stated that the reasons K12 schools were deemed ineligible are these two:

    1) At least in the American education system, K12 schools are considered private access, aka nobody except the students, their parents when necessary and those who work there have any busiess inside. Anyone else accessing the school property could be breaking a law for all I know, or cause concern for a potential school **** or something. It could be a potential safety issue.

    2) The American privacy protection law of children. To my understanding, the US law considers it problematic if not illegal if a child would be regocnized from an image that was taken and published without the parents' consent, or something along these lines, and that it would be especially problematic if it were publicly available at the kid's school in games that potentially thousands of people play. To minimize this potential risk of legal trouble, schools were simply barred. This likewise could be a potential safety issue.

    Now, I'm not 100% sure I got all the details completely right, I'm just passing on info I heard from players with more experience on these matters than I do and things I remember reading before on this platform and similar sites. I simply feel if this was the case, it would make a lot of sense.

    Also, if this is indeed the case, it should be noted that there is some gray area in this criteria, considering most of the world, well, doesn't follow the US law.

    How should the rest of the world implement the criteria then?

    First off, I should note that if there is a clear law in your country that says absolutely no outsiders ever in school properties during school hours, waypoints possibly shouldn't be added in there at all.

    However, as I believe in most countries this isn't the case, I believe we have a little bit of leeway about it. Not too much, but a little bit. Allow me to explain.

    If the waypoint is inside the school building itself then it's obviously not okay to add. Same goes probably if it's within the immediate area for recess.

    However, if there is a public library attached to the building or a public youth centre or anything, that people can freely access at any time of day or from a different door from public area, those I feel should be eligible.

    Likewise, commonly publicly used sport fields, tennis fields, ice rinks and such that are technically on school property but aren't on recess area where pupils and students would be regularly hanging out during recess, then it probably should be fine to add them as waypoints, especially if the waypoint can be situated on a location that isn't on the same side as the school recess area would be, or at least a decent distance away from it. However, if the target, such as a school playground, mural or outdoor basketball hoop (I dont mean a separate basketball court structure that should be located farther away anyway) is in the common recess area, then it should probably be ineligible.

    Where I'm from, we also realized we had an issue how to determine what exactly is school area as we simply don't often have fences or anything that would show without a question what is and what wouldn't be. We also noticed that in official maps from the National Land Survey of Finland anf similar sources, school properties aren't always shown disrinctly from the larger property owned by the city or town. In the same property could as well exist private homes, a public exercise gym, a public library, an apartment building, you name it. How do we define school property if we can't even trust official land property owner maps to accurately display that information?

    Putting all this into consideration, I feel since we can't always determine with 100% certainty what the school property area fully even is exactly, as sometimes these sport areas and other publicly used areas are on an entirely different property altogether regardless of being right next to a school, it simply isn't fair if we reject some and accepted others only based on what the land property maps say. Hence, I feel, that using a different criteria for determining school property is something we must do, and the most agreeable solution in my view and of those in our community is that reject if it's inside the school or on recess area, probably accept if it's on an area that could be in public use.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Please read more carefully so you don't completely twist what was said.

    I never said there was an exception. It's a blanket rule, with no exception. I was merely lamenting the lack of common sense people have that make rules have to be like that,

    Exceptions could exist in a world with common sense... this isn't one of those worlds.

  • patsufredo-PGOpatsufredo-PGO Posts: 4,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For now, only the churchs that have the same building/area with the school are ineligible. Giffard also stated that churches can't be removed if both church and school have different entrances.

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't think there's any leeway for school sports fields that are slightly set away from the main school building. If it's on school PROPERTY, it's out - even if people play a friendly game of catch there after school hours, or use the track for jogging. Recess is not a consideration - kids can be there as part of gym class or extramural practices/games. School property has no wiggle room, it's a hard and fast rule and no amount of wishing makes it otherwise. If there's a park nearby with the POI situated on park grounds, though, with its interaction circle stretching onto the school or parking or sports fields, then that's fine. Correct placement is centered on the actual POI and there's no published 40m rule for schools.

  • feliscybernicus-PGOfeliscybernicus-PGO Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    I believe it to be situational for countries outside of USA. As I said before, idk how it's in other countries but where I'm from, there is no fully quaranteed way to even know what all is counted as actual school property.

    We have school sport fields etc often on entirely different property rather than school property but stilm right next to schools, but also often far away from schools, like up to around 1km away or so even.

    However, sometimes they are on the same property as the school but alongside it the same "school property" also hosts a few single family residences, a public library, a public commercial gym, or even an entire apartment building, because that's how things work for us.

    Which are is to be rejected, all of the above for the sake of fairness? I don't think so.

    Just as long as they're publicly used by all, they should be eligible as long as the area isn't used for recess purposes. We need to assess individually if the rejection causes are valid and there are legitimate concerns why this should be. If Niantic hasn't taken this into account yet, they absolutely need to.

  • rodensteiner-INGrodensteiner-ING Posts: 1,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here in Germany we often have school grounds that are just basicly the school building and some small paths/roads that lead out to the main street.

    these schools are often connected to another, so that you have basicly an Area of Schools. There are mostly

    • Track Fields
    • Soccer Grounds
    • Basketball Grounds

    That are NOT on the schools premises, but used for schools mainly.

    Also there are playgrounds that are 1-2 streets away, but mainly used for schools.

    Most people in germany would submit this, and also accept these. I think it is a difficult topic.

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