Clarification on WHY US Military bases are banned?

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

I would like some clarification as to why military bases in the US are banned from having new wayspots added (and in PoGo geoblocked from having spawns)

To add context, I am an Air Force brat, I have lived on 6 different US Air Force Bases in my lifetime. My father was also the commander of Peterson AFB, and never was there an issue with wayspots on base. 

From what I understand, when Pokemon Go first released there was a problem with trespassing. Not just military bases exclusively, but generally everywhere. (Hell there was a problem with people driving and playing, but warnings were added and limits placed to prevent people from doing that)

This issue as far as I have seen doesn’t exist anymore. The “craze” of when Pokemon Go first came out is long dead, and there hasn’t been an issue of trespassing in years. As I said my father was the commander of Peterson AFB and nothing ever happened and there are tons of existing wayspots on base. 

The other issue that people bring up is “Its a sensitive military base, top secret they don't want things mapped out”. This is straight up untrue and is invalid. There is nothing “secret” about US military bases. They are just large gated communities. They have daycare, elementary schools, bowling alleys, parks, playground, museums, theaters, churches, housing developments (privatized and built by a 3rd party company). They’re essentially whole towns. Full of families, civilians and contractors work on base. Sure there’s no google street view on base, but neither is there in a gated apartment complex or gated housing development. Why? Because the car can’t get in the gate. You can very easily see EVERYTHING on a base in 3D flyover map view or aerial satellite imagery. Military bases and military installations are two very different things. If you're inside the Pentagon, or Cite C-6, or the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, or hell “Area 51”… You are not a child, a dependent, civilian, etc. You won’t have your phone on your or be taking picture for security there, but military bases are a totally different thing. 

Anyways I just want to understand WHY bases are banned, and if these are the main reason trying to add context and clarification because apparently every day civilian people think that military bases in the US are top secret disciplined war zones full of soldiers marching around getting yelled at by drill sergeants. They’re just large gated communities with guards, and people on base are regular people too, military personnel, family members, children alike want to be able to play Niantic games without driving or having a parent drive miles to get outside to “real civilization”.




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

    Also to add to my post, some bases have facilities and land OUTSIDE of the gates and fences/walls. Patrick Space Force Base (Formly Patrick AFB) actually owns the beaches bordering it, and has a clubhouse and beach house bar and other buildings on the beach. The beach is 100% publicly accessible. They even have a hotel on the beach outside the base perimeter. The gates and fences/walls are just for security, just like any other gated community or apartment complex.

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

    The short answer, that some would say is "trite", is because that's what Niantic has told us.

    The same short answer applies to my front yard, middles of roundabouts without pedestrian crossings, industrial sites, a private farm, an elementary school, a water "aerator" fountain in the middle of a pond, a beach that gets submerged during high tide, and a myriad of other locations that we're not allowed: "because Niantic said so".

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 3,489 Ambassador

    ...a pool in an apartment complex vs a pool in a park...

    No Fun Fred, are you here?

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

    @Jtronmoore-PGO THIS I 100% agree with. I have seen nominations of a plaque inside of a building, those I say no, because like, most buildings have tons of awards and military paraphernalia on display. But those should not be accepted because if they are inside of say the 21st space wing headquarters... only those who work there or have special permissions are allowed in. But yeah playgrounds pavilions, sports courts, perfect! This needs to be the rule or clarification needs to be given to say that THIS is ALLOWED.

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

    PRECISELY. We all need to understand this. The other thread you also commented on Active submitter or multiple on a military base People are complaining about submission on bases (namely Peterson) and they and everyone needs to understand what you are saying. There's a very VERY clear line in the base between operational work areas and housing/recreational areas. And the housing/recreational areas are 100% eligible.

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I completely understand that. Boils down to people using some logic. Is a playground ever going to interfere with operations? Also I’ve never ever seen a playground in any operational zone of any base because they are not meant for playing. So if its a playground as an example I’m sure people could put it together that its fine

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

    Playgrounds? Parks? Movie Theaters and churches and gazebos/pergolas? They have absolutely no interference with operations, don't obstruct any "emergency services". The kid's twisty slide is not an unsafe tightly held secret government weapon. lol

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

    @Jtronmoore-PGO Are you former military or military brat? Seems we're on the same page. haha

  • flatmatt-PGOflatmatt-PGO Posts: 2,079 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Okay, but how do you make that into a clear, concise rule with as little ambiguity as possible?

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

    Parks, playgrounds, churches, gazebos, are acceptable as per usual. There's no ambiguity about those whatsoever. Theres not going to nor has there ever been a children's playground inside of a sensitive operating or dangerous area... You can reject plaques and random benches and other things in military bases because maybe their location is not 100% clear. Fine, I can live with that. But the things I mentioned are 100% clear and eligible and there's no confusion as to where those are and if they are safe.

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

    Well, if you want a longer and/or more complete answer, you've gotta wait until the next AMA comes up, and hope that the masses of voters think your question is more worthy than their own favourite causes. AND hope that the Niantic staff actually writes up a long coherent answer instead of the PR-pablum they've given us so far.

    SOMEtimes staff will also make clarifications in random threads like this one, but don't hold your breath. They don't tend to get personally involved until after some bit of abuse or shenanigans have been uncovered.

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

    @0X00FF00-ING Okay, good thought. I'll make it a point to post when the next AMA is published. Military life is my life. My father died serving the country and I serve the military community as well in work. So it's one of those things I get heated about and its 100% unfair that military families are barred from having fun with Niantic games. I have many coworkers and friends that live/lived on bases and couldn't play pokemon go because of the rules. Anyways... Thanks for the suggestion!

  • KetaSkooter-INGKetaSkooter-ING Posts: 177 ✭✭✭

    Sounds like maybe your area is tough to get these things through. My state I've not experienced any issues with passing clearly recreational locations on bases. The most common of course is playgrounds and there's also sports fields and hiking trails along with historic displays that are clearly away from operational areas.

  • Oakes1923-PGOOakes1923-PGO Posts: 419 ✭✭✭✭

    Seems like it would require work by Niantic to go back and open up any geoblocked cells that are block for being "military base", which would require two things.

    One; local knowledge of what parts of the base or for operations and what parts of the base are for housing military personal and their families.

    Two; work from Niantic.

    Also Niantic loves to live in the "grey" area, with a few, notable, exceptions. Schools being a prime example, military bases as another. Its a slippery **** that Niantic is unlikely to get close too.

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

    Theres the now renamed Patrick Space Force Base that has next to nothing... But there's another thread going where people were complaining about getting nominations on bases and wanted niantic to ban all nominations on bases. Active submitter or multiple on a military base. They think that all base nominations should be 1* reject. Which they shouldn't.

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

    Yeah, I agree, it would take "work" which I'm sure niantic is against doing. However the housing areas are very clear and obvious even in satellite imagery. They're just like any other housing development anywhere. They are build by 3rd party construction companies and are privatized housing now. The old school 100% military owned housing is long gone and dead now in the US. But if they wanted to keep the geoblock from spawns live... Okay I can MAYBE live with that, but waspots for parks, playground, theaters, etc should be 100% approved and eligible so at least there can be something on bases for people to use.

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

    Well, the current wayfarer rules as written forbid everything new from being accepted on military bases. Niantic hasn't written in any exceptions for us to follow. So that "Active submitter..." thread, they have a valid point, and any submitter or reviewer that acts otherwise can have disciplinary action on their wayfarer accounts.

    That's your current choice then: go rogue, and let the community decide, and maybe lose access to wayfarer. Or follow Niantic's instructions, and complain loudly until they finally react.

    But incidentally, @NianticCasey-ING, the last AMA has been like forever ago now. How long do we have to wait for the next one?

  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Far better than an AMA is when Niantic either defines and constrains a yes/no answer, or better yet reveals and illustrates the thought process behind it.

    If they say: “We must acknowledge that some communities are using automobiles to play, and we don’t want a stalled car or other congestion to block emergency response, therefore present-day-use fire hydrants, emergency lanes, and emergency/ambulance/police/fire dispatch areas are off limits.”, Wayfarers can extrapolate to similar things in other environments.

    Niantic should be teaching Wayfarers to fish, not just doling out bait and tackle at random via Ask me Anything sessions.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 3,489 Ambassador

    No, you won't.

    Never did get an actual answer why some pools are ineligible, despite having been a top answer in 3 separate AMAs.

    But they don't. Education has never been shown as a priority.

  • Raachermannl-INGRaachermannl-ING Posts: 1,070 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2021

    I'm not sure, how the mentioned geoblock was introduced, but according to this thread the geoblock was somehow introduced together with wayfarer and the rule change, when military area was added to the obstructs-emergency-service-rejection, am I right?

    Nethertheless I'd like to add, that the discussion here is very US-centered. Personally I fully agree with most comments about, that non operational parts of such US-military bases should be considered as not instantly ineligible. So I guess, that this rule change happened, because the old rules had the US-military base style in mind, but in most other countries it's different:

    Germany's (and whole Europe's) military bases are completly different. There is no housing area, that is similar to a suburban gated community or something like that. German soldiers don't have their home inside a base. They have a normal civil home, and then there are one or two big building in their military bases, where every soldier of a company (or at least few platoons of a company) has a bed and a cupboard in a room, and they share that room with other soldiers. So they are free to choose, whether they stay in the military base over night or they drive to their civil home after their daily period of service (exception: training courses include often 24/7 service for a few weeks). So there are no playgrounds or churches on military area. So in the end a German military base is fully operational, and I fully agree with the 3.1 rule change looking at the military bases of my own country.

    So in the end I guess Niantic changed the rules and introduced the geoblocks because the US-military base style is the exception, not the rule .... and there might have been a lot of trouble under the old rules in other countries. I'm not deep into it, but I know one case from Germany, where a military base portal caused trouble....

    If Nia would write strange exceptions for military bases, distinguishing housing area and operational area, that would also cause a lot of confusion .... for example: Are German company-barracks now housing area? etc.pp.

    Second thing to add:

    Maybe one could compare the military bases to Nia's statement in this thread:

    The common denominator of a prison and a military area (gated housing complexes as well as operational area) is, that the area is secured by **** forces. For non-Muricans this should be also a very clear differentiation criterion, but again complex for trigger-happy US-laws...

  • GalarHooligan-PGOGalarHooligan-PGO Posts: 63 ✭✭✭

    Because Pokemon Company (and other investors) said so.

    I see most of the commenters are PoGo players that seem to have no respect for the massive problems restricted access portals can cause in Ingress where only one team has access (95% of the time it's RES due to poor marketing of the factions and snowball effect).

  • Raachermannl-INGRaachermannl-ING Posts: 1,070 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Srsly, "4rmed" is in the bad word filter? xD

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

    Well that doesnt have much to do with it. People on base are people, and they might play ingress too. Me personally I didn't play ingress much outside when it launched. But either way not allowing 100% eligible way spots to be added because people don't understand how US military bases work isn't fair.

  • Taylor5636-PGOTaylor5636-PGO Posts: 39 ✭✭✭

    Some better clarification would be AMAZING!! I am a military spouse, it would be lovely to be able to build some of these areas up. I had given up on the idea, but will fully support a campaign for some better answers. I understand that some places just are not good for portals (yes I understand the Ingress implications, maybe that needs fixed more than blocking off whole communities) but there are whole Cities that don't get to enjoy these games because of a FAR to general rule.

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

    I've never been outside the US, so that is interesting. Thank you for bringing that up. But yeah in the US our bases are literally just gated communities/small towns with large residential areas and other amenities, and we have guards at the gates that sometimes (not all the time) wield guns.

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