Geodetic Survey Marker Disks - Questions on Pedestrian Access, Visual Uniqueness, and PRP

What constitutes a survey marker can vary quite significantly, from substantial triangulation stations (TRIG stations) on mountain-tops and hill-tops to smaller metal disks scattered throughout urban areas.

In my experience reviewing in NSW, Australia, smaller brass survey markers are becoming an increasingly frequent type of nomination. Over the past weekend, for example, I had a streak of no less than 5 of these markers in a row in my Wayfarer queue. I've personally developed a habit of skipping many of these but that stance is becoming untenable.

The following is a typical example of a metal disk survey marker in Sydney, Australia, and is very typical of the submissions are currently coming up in Wayfarer. United States penny for scale:

While the frequency of these markers will obviously vary regionally, in urban Australia, they tend to be rather common. For example, this screenshot from the NSW Government's SIX Spatial Services Maps shows a typical frequency at which these marks can occur, with one or more occurring on almost every city block.

Under the pre-update eligibility criteria and advice, the advice appeared to be:

"As long as it's on a public pathway and not on a sidewalk next to a private residence (or any other location mentioned in our Do not submit list), the 4* guideline still applies."

The new eligibility criteria do not appear to address these more common markers at all, nor can I find a recent AMA that tackles the issue.

Some Wayspot submissions for these markers quote from the old criteria or paraphrase it in some way Other submissions will allude to how these survey markers play a role in mapping or even in other activities such as geocaching and benchmarking - however, there are many common features that can be used in mapping and geocaching aside from these markers, and many are not eligible (natural features or [other] mass-produced generic objects for example.)

There is also the factor of pedestrian access:

In the above picture:

Marker A is in an area accessible to pedestrians but doesn't have a path leading up to it.

Marker B is on the curb between the road and the pedestrian area.

Marker C is in the gutter of the road.

Marker D is on the road itself (these are less common but do occur)

Marker E is embedded in a footpath.

Marker F is on the curb with a footpath leading up to it.

Marker G is in the gutter of the road with a footpath leading up to it (the photo earlier in this post would be a "G")

Marker H is on the road itself with a marker leading up to it.

At what point do the markers become unsafe for pedestrians? I have personally seen submitters attempt to submit and justify markers similar to C, G, and H on multiple occasions.

Additionally, survey markers are frequently being submitted when they occur in the roadside easement and/or nature **** of a single-family home.

In this case:

Marker X is similar to Marker A, but occurs in the easement or nature **** in front of a single-family home.

Marker Y is similar to Markers B and F, but occurs on the curb in front of a single-family home.

Marker Z is similar to Markers C and G, but occurs in the gutter of the road in front of a single-family home.

In Australia, the immediate space between the road is generally considered "crown land" (may vary in size and enforcement from location to location) meaning it is accessible to the public but also normally managed by the land-title-holder/owner to some extent.

Key questions:

Is there any current guidance for these kinds of markers?

At what point do we score down these kinds of features for visual uniqueness if there are potentially multiple markers of this kind on a single small city block?

What constitutes safe pedestrian access in relation to features immediately adjacent to or even on the edge of the road?

How should we treat features when they fall on the immediate verge of private residential property?


  • Kroutpiick-PGOKroutpiick-PGO Posts: 370 ✭✭✭✭

    Is there any current guidance for these kinds of markers?

    At what point do we score down these kinds of features for visual uniqueness if there are potentially multiple markers of this kind on a single small city block?

    The most recent discussions tend to say that survey/geodetic marker within an urban area are not eligible as being "mass produced" or "not visually unique". They are not really a "nice place for exploration, exercice or social" unless we are talking about markers on the top of a mountain as an example, which in that latter case, could be a nice place to visit/to explore.

    Here are a few recent discussions :


    What constitutes safe pedestrian access in relation to features immediately adjacent to or even on the edge of the road?

    Generally speaking, I would say that A, B, E and F have "safe pedestrian access" (Only for this criteria. It may still be on PRP and trigger that rejection criteria).

    From November AMA :

    What constitutes “safe pedestrian access” to a location? 

    Safe Pedestrian Access denotes the player is able to access the object in question by walking up to it without putting themselves into potential danger. Objects in pedestrian areas, along sidewalks or paths or in parks/fields are great examples of eligible locations. Ineligible examples include objects on roundabouts or in traffic dividers that do not have a sidewalk/pathway leading to it.

    How should we treat features when they fall on the immediate verge of private residential property?

    From November AMA :

    Can you clarify the definition of “private residential property?” Are multi-family residences included in this rejection reason? What about Wayspots that are within 40m of a private residence?

    The considerations when looking at private residential property have not changed with the criteria refresh. [...] Nominations that appear to be within 40m of private, single-family residential property should be very closely reviewed to make sure they are not on private residential property, and that they are accessible from locations not on private residential property.

    As per Niantic rules, PRP extends to the street. So in your last example, X and Y are PRP (and Z doesn't have safe pedestrian access).

  • oscarc1-INGoscarc1-ING Posts: 366 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great posts! I'll chime in with my original post about survey markers here to give some more detail on the matter.

    I know the NSW people have twisted the original guidance from "Survey Marker if on a trail or helps you explore the location" to just "4* survey markers" - which is just cherry picking what they want and wrongly influencing reviewers with incomplete information.

    Honestly, 99% of these are near homes, so I just mark them as abuse because of the aforementioned twisting of the guidelines and continued persistance in submitting these.

    I know they are big in NSW, but they should never have been in the first place and whoever is pushing them needs to be suspended. They are taking advantage of them being on pretty much every street corner and within every 500m, but not giving any info as to why any of them are actually notable. All are generic, mass-produced, have poor access and do not meet the current criteria.

  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 772 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "As per Niantic rules, PRP extends to the street."

    I have seen this statement many times, and I have tried to find where Niantic actually said that. But I can't seem to find it. Mostly when people bring it up, they point to an AMA clarification about easements/right-of-way. Is it possible that that idea came from a misunderstanding of what an easement/right-of-way is?

    In the meantime, when appeals are made about incorrectly removed wayspots that are located between a PRP and the street, the appeals appear to be accepted, and the wayspots are restored. So I don't think this statement is correct.

    As far as I can tell, PRP is either on the property, or on the wall or fence of the property. Anything outside of the property is okay, as long as you can reach it without trespassing on the property.

    I have prepared an AMA question about this, but it would be really helpful if we could get an official answer in this thread.

  • Kroutpiick-PGOKroutpiick-PGO Posts: 370 ✭✭✭✭

    I was too lazy to do extensive searches yesterday, the search engine is so unhelpful 😅.

    I didn't yet found any clear statement from Niantic... All I found are as you said, from interpretation of "easement/right-of-way" since this may vary from a country to another... "Is the sidewalk public or not, part of the PRP or not", this may vary from a jurisdiction to another, maybe that's why a lot of ppl of the community concluded that "PRP extends to the street"...

    Here's what I found :

    Ingress community forum (Nov 2019) :

    Specifically this comment :


    To add to that, in Niantic's opinion, "private property" extends ALL the way to the road from the PRP, regardless of your particular municipality's local "easement" rules. In brief, it does NOT matter which side of the sidewalk the POI is on, it's an automatic rejection in Wayfarer.

    This was very definitively specified in a former @RedSoloCup AMA.

    Unfortunaly, I'm still unable to find this specific statement...

    Also from older AMAs...

    Ingress AMA - November 2018

    Q83: I would appreciate a clarification for decorative objects placed to mark a driveway entrance to a private residence (decorated posts, rocks, other objects). They're clearly in front of private residences, but unclear whether they're in the road allowance or not. They're definitely placed and maintained by the property owner. Presuming they are unique enough to meet other portal criteria, should they be treated as private residential property?

    A83: NIA OPS says, “If they are on a private residence and managed by the property owner, these should be considered as Private Residential and should receive a one star.”

    Ingress AMA - February 2018

    Q48: Little Free Libraries... when reviewing potential portals in OPR, should LFL be approved if they are next to the road or sidewalk within the county/city right-of-way, but the lawn they are on is owned and maintained by a residential home privately owned? These seem to be on county/city property and private property at the same time. It seems the LFL is inviting the public to stop by. What do you say?

    A48: According to NIA OPS, If it's on someone's private residential property (right-of-way or not), it does not meet criteria. If it's on a common area that's not associated to any private residence, that should be ok.It's hard for us to know the local nuances of legal access for a global game, so as a general rule, if it's on the 'Do Not Submit' list, do not submit them.

    Q74: If a fence boundary on the public access side of a residential property (or similar frowned upon properties) has murals, art, unqiue architecture is it an acceptable portal if you are not trespassing, and can physically touch it from the public sidewalk.

    A74: NIA OPS says, to keep it simple, if it's on private residential property don't submit it.

    Ingress AMA - October 17th 2017

    Q48: Hi Andrew! In the portal submission guidelines it states that Private Residential is not allowed. Are portals that are on the public easement part of private residential property (such as a sidewalk) and publicly accessible allowed?

    A48: A sidewalk, that probably fits the bill. Something in someone's front yard... probably not.

  • Lechu1730-PGOLechu1730-PGO Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭

    PRP should end at the property line. I think the misunderstanding arises because there are places where there are no sidewalks nor demarcating walls / fences in front of the homes. In those cases the safe assumption should be that PRP extends to the road.

  • Kroutpiick-PGOKroutpiick-PGO Posts: 370 ✭✭✭✭

    You are true in the specific case of streets without sidewalk + when the fence is not "straight at the end of the grass/beginning of the street" and an object is on that part of grass between the fence and the street : it will still be considered PRP.

    But when there is a sidewalk : is the sidewalk part of the street? Looks like Niantic staff never answered to this question since 2019...

  • 0X00FF00-ING0X00FF00-ING Posts: 769 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Yet-another thread about the lack of unified worldwide definitions of "easement" "right-of-way" etc. This had long been settled, prior to Wayfarer 3.0, which threw out all the old AMA answers in order to simplify.

    The problem being, that "If it's on someone's private residential property (right-of-way or not), it does not meet criteria." is no longer officially part of Niantic's official answers.

    An easement is a **** of land, often at the front of somebody's PRP, occasionally at its rear. This is land that the property owner must manage or be faced with fines from their municipality, generally has rules regarding hedges and visibility and clearing sidewalks and allowing the city to widen or shrink roadways as they see fit.

    Property lines may or may not extend to the middle of the road. Property lines may or may not end some inches prior to the sidewalk.

    But in all cases, frequent and unpredictable flashmobs of players lingering at the street at the fronts of these places is a nuisance, and led to a (settled) lawsuit that changed how OPR and thus Wayfarer behaved, mandating a "close inspection" of any wayspot within 40m of anybody's PRP, and a statistically significant proportion of wayspots manually reviewed by Niantic staff/contractors (aka the badly named "honeypot" submissions).

    While players can universally agree (whether or not they like it, umm lol) that anything between the sidewalk and the PRP is excluded, whereas anything between the sidewalk and the roadway is unfortunately back in the no-longer-defined-as-of-Wayfarer-3.0 limbo zone.

    My gut feeling is that nominations on PRP easements should still be excluded, just from the same nuisance issues that excluded PRP from being acceptable locations in the first place.

  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 772 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Even if that statement would still be official, it doesn't say PRP extends all the way to the road. It only says something does not meet criteria if it is ON someone's PRP (right-of-way or not). Public space between a PRP and a road, that is not part of someone's PRP, is not covered by that statement.

  • 0X00FF00-ING0X00FF00-ING Posts: 769 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What that AMA says is twofold:

    1. things on easements or a right-of-way are disallowed
    2. Niantic doesn't want to create confusion by attempting to codify differing PRP rules by jurisdiction, all with their own individual rules. So that means one rule to be applied universally worldwide.

    But REGARDLESS. Niantic threw out the AMA/rules/clarifications bathwater with Wayfarer 3.0, and has yet to make any further ruling on the situation. So until they do so, this ruling is, again, in limbo.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As someone who reviews a whole heap of things within the Sydney area, I once shared the same notion of skipping, but where it also started to become quite untenable to skip things (because of the limit), I fall towards the red rating a few times because these were just countless barrages of these markers. So I've ended up succumbing to vote them well and now my status is consistently in Great.

    Abuse is quite harsh. I would be marking abuse the attempts where they try to pass off a stop valve, fire hydrant or a power pole as a survey marker. Those are the absolute ugly ones. With the whole PRP up to the Street, I think it is quite jagged advice. I recall the advice from Casey mentioning that although they cannot govern the rules all across the world, they rely and trust the communities to be sensitive to local and cultural differences.

    Mind you I have been getting Information Maps within the Sydney CBD rejected for not meeting criteria and obstructing emergency services/pedestrian access, but these survey markers (albeit in specific concentrated areas) are going through without a hitch. I've tried to submit a couple, but many have been unsuccessful or are just in voter limbo.

    Mainly the reason why I think the private property extended to the street was because in the US people can just walk on the side of the road and for some reason find themselves threatened or a bullet inside them just for walking in front of farmland. These days, these often-mentioned "flash mobs" near houses/farms in such certain games really seem to be very few nowadays, they're all mainly in central CBD areas or raiding remotely.

    P.S. If you are in Sydney, the three featured wayspots on Wayfarer are all survey markers in Lithgow. That is simply the inspiration that makes all reviewers believe they are eligible throughout the Sydney-Moss Vale-Lithgow-Bomaderry cell.

  • yanghao1-INGyanghao1-ING Posts: 56 ✭✭

    There is one person in the Vancouver area also submitting survey markers around the city. For the supporting photo the submitter places "leaves" around the marker and text posts a weblink to an ingress thread from Nov 2019 about them being eligible. They can be clearly seen in the supporting photo however the map photo is another story. Some of the waypoints are in the middle of the street but looking at the supporting photo, the survey marker is on the sidewalk. Therefore this makes it difficult to move the map green marker onto the right place.

  • TheZodiac007-PGOTheZodiac007-PGO Posts: 860 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    My experience with these so far has been bad. I submitted one in an area populated with POI & it was accepted so I automatically thought I’ll try another one so a few weeks later I submitted another at a church that was visible by photosphere/ etc & it was denied. Until Niantic clarifies on these specifically I don’t recommend submitting Geodetic Survey Markers unless they’re extremely unique. I also highly recommend to not submit the ones with the caps that open up that have a rod for equipment to set on inside. I only recommend submitting ones that have historical value to the community & ones that have dates on them that are accurate in the database. I also suggest only submitting ones that are photographed in the database as well. In the area I live in these have been destroyed by the government unless they are embedded somewhere of historical value to the community that would destroy the object where it is located. Therefore they have historical value as well. Each wayfarer has their own view on these. In the United States they are almost guaranteed to get denied unless you’re very lucky & cover all of the bases with detailed information about your nomination

  • MoogModular-INGMoogModular-ING Posts: 73 ✭✭✭

    I would rather wonder if they are in the middle of the road. That's easier to deny because of no safe access.

    The sidewalk/right of way can be a gray area. From my experience, a sidewalk is public and in an usual scenario, the public right of way ends at the property line. If you're walking on a sidewalk, there's usually a few feet of space between the property and the sidewalk which is the right of way.

    A single family residence usually does not have an access easement because their driveway is their legal access. I usually see access easements when it comes to commercial and retail plazas, businesses that are separate in a plaza that have access to side streets, and churches. There's also emergency access done as an easement but the conditions are usually that the roads aren't for normal use.

  • Fifikinsx-PGOFifikinsx-PGO Posts: 11 ✭✭

    Of they are in a keen I makrk no pedestrian access. Often the photos are so **** poor you can mark poor photo quality.

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