Wayfarer Roadmap + AMA - June 2023

Hello Explorers,

It’s that time of the year again, time for a Wayfarer Roadmap Update. We’re excited to share updates on what we have shipped, what we missed, and most excitingly, what’s coming up in the second half of 2023. This time around we’re changing things up a bit.

We know the typical Wayfarer AMA’s tend to garner some negative sentiments when it comes to voting, duplicate community accounts, etc. So this time around, we’re going to make the question submission portion of the AMA anonymous by having a Google Form to collect questions. In the form, you’ll have the opportunity to add up to 3 questions. There will also be one section of the form where you’ll be able to ask one question to our Ambassadors that will be responded to by them. The Ambassador Question can be anything from getting to know them more, about their experience, etc. We will then partner with our amazing Ambassadors to highlight themes from all of the submitted questions and use those to address the communities key curiosities.

Submit Your Questions Here

The June 2023 Wayfarer Roadmap + AMA will take place starting June 9, 2023. The rest of the timeline will be:

  • Question Submission Period: June 9, 2023 - June 18, 2023 at 11:59 PM UTC (4:59 PM PDT)
  • Theme Forming Period: June 19, 2023 - June 23, 2023
  • Roadmap + AMA Response Work Time: June 26, 2023 - June 30, 2023
  • Roadmap + AMA Community Post: June 30, 2023

We’re excited to try out this new method that balances community voice, fairness, and the opportunity for us to increase communication about what’s been happening and is coming down the pipeline for Niantic Wayfarer. Ambassadors will only have access to questions, no other account information will be shared.

(originally posted June 2023)

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Hello Explorers,

Jumping in here to post an update regarding the Niantic Roadmap + AMA. Unfortunately we will not be able to meet our timeframe and will need to push our official posting date back by several days (until after the US upcoming holiday). We know you all have been waiting and we appreciate your patients. Extending the timeframe will allow us to give you concrete and fuller answers to the top themes from all of your questions.

In the meantime, we are excited to share with you our Ambassador AMA! We had tons of fun reading through their responses and know you will enjoy them as well. Please see the Ambassador AMA. Again, thank you for your patience and we will update you when we know more.

Safe Exploring!

(originally posted June 2023)

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Hello Explorers,

Thank you all for such an incredible first half of 2023. We can’t believe it’s already half way through this year, that definitely calls for a look back at what we have accomplished, what we missed, and what exciting plans we have for the second half of 2023.

First, we will kick it off with what we’ve been able to accomplish since the start of the year:

Backlog Reduction / Nomination Resolution Speed

As you all know, we kicked off the year with our backlog reduction work, targeting the oldest nominations up to December 2021. This initiative allowed us to reduce our backlog by 600,000 nominations, of which our team manually reviewed 120,000. By removing these from the backlog, we saw a decrease of 30% time needed for nominations to reach a resolution. We are exploring the possibility of repeating this work to reduce the backlog further and resolve more of your oldest nominations.

Coal Submissions and Duplicates Detection

In our last Roadmap update, we shared that we shadow-launched a new system to better detect and deflect very low-quality submissions (coal). We have now had this system working in the background for several months and we ramped up the amount of submissions it deflects.

Now, we’re able to deflect low-quality submissions, like those with pictures taken from a car or with blurry photos, etc. before they are presented to the community. We also introduced a similar system to better detect duplicate submissions, including from our live Wayspots and previously rejected submissions. We are now able to auto detect some duplicates and will continue tuning and recalibrating as needed to avoid any inaccurate flags.

Appeals Velocity

Our most recent update to you was that we were changing the way we process Appeals from First In First Out (FIFO) to half First In First Out and half Last In First Out (LIFO). We made this change so that we could attack the issue from 2 fronts and allow some of your Appeals to be resolved sooner. We have heard the feedback and the sentiment around “missed” Appeals. The LIFO approach continues to be a moving target as more Appeals are being submitted than can be resolved in one day. We’ve had some conversations with our team, as well as with the Ambassadors,and have decided to shift our approach back to FIFO as of a couple weeks ago. Since the start of the year, we have resolved over 91K Appeals and will continue tackling the issue as we near a healthier Appeal processing speed. In the second half of 2023, we plan to increase the resources and process efficiency for appeals. Additionally, the duplicates detection system mentioned above has been running on appealed submissions to deflect some old appealed submissions.

Wayfarer Challenges

Global Reviewer Challenges have resulted in some amazing, never-before-seen successes for all Explorers and the host countries. More than 120,000 Wayspot nominations were resolved between the two challenges this year; an amount that has never been accomplished before. We simplified the challenge opt-in: a new Wayfarer Challenge user setting in your profile replaced the manual Bonus Location switch. Additionally, we switched the way we present submission for review by pulling them from the entire country.

We also changed how we reward participating Explorers where previously we only rewarded participation with a focus on Agreements. Now, we are focusing both on individual participation and community tier achievements. We are grateful for the amazing partnership with the Pokémon GO and Ingress teams, who came to the deck with some awesome in-game rewards.

We know you requested to better track your individual contributions, we are planning on improving this behavior for the next challenge.

Community Engagement

Thank you to all who have voiced your observations about our improvement in communication over the last couple of months. We have made communication a top priority this year and will continue to keep it a priority while we introduce other improvements to our community.

In the coming weeks, you’ll see some exciting changes to the forum, including a new look and feel for the landing page of the forum, improvements and focus on the Bug Reports category to not only ensure we stay on top of new bugs but also to more proactively communicate our progress on addressing bugs.

We will continue to partner with our outstanding Ambassadors and internally we will be looping in different teams within Niantic to discuss ways in which we can improve your community experience.

Now, onto what we have missed and shifted. While the team set some very ambitious goals, we had some hiccups along the way that resulted in us having to push back some ship dates to ensure that we were shipping a product worth your experience.


We hear you. Edits, like Nominations, can take too much time to reach a resolution, and we agree that it is longer than we would like as well. While we resolved around 51,000 location edits from the backlog, we will continue exploring ways to address all types of Edits. With our current resources, we are prioritizing Nominations to continue our progress and when that work is complete, we will redirect our resources to address Edit velocity. Similar to Nominations, we also plan to introduce a system to detect low-quality edits and deflect those. There is currently no exact time frame from when this work to address Edits will be done, but we will keep you updated in a couple months and we apologize for the delay.

Contribution Management + Other Features

The Contribution Management tab was a great feature announced to the community that we have yet to deliver on. While this will not be a prioritized feature within the next couple of months, we hope to have this ready by the end of 2023. Some of the other features mentioned in the AMA questions such as incorporating Street View, Review History, and the ability to withdraw In Voting nominations and appeal can be considered.

And now onto the exciting Wayfarer updates. The first half of 2023 introduced many changes and newness to Wayfarer as a whole. We’re astounded at how much has changed and will continue to improve as we go deeper into the second half of the year. Here are some things you can look forward to as soon as the next couple of weeks:

Review Flow

We are incredibly grateful to all of our Explorers who take the time to and find joy in reviewing Wayspot Nominations. It has truly become a part of my virtual exploration; getting to know more of my local community and the larger global community. With that being said, we’re excited to share that there will be a new reviewing experience coming to you all in the next couple of weeks. This new review experience will change how you evaluate a Nomination by shifting the 5-star rating system to a simpler rating system for each question about the nomination. You will also see some other changes such as easier reporting of abusive nominations and quality of life improvements. Of course, our Ambassadors will be testing it first in the upcoming weeks followed by a global community launch. You can expect the new review experience by early September 2023.

Anti-Cheat Efforts

In the first half of this year, the Ambassadors, Wayfarer Team, and many other Niantic Teams have partnered to tackle the abuse present in Wayfarer. It is a top priority as it impacts not only Wayfarer and our Community, but every player of Niantic games. With this deep cross-functional collaboration, we’ve developed new approaches to identify, administer, and prevent abuse from impacting us all and the integrity of the platform as a whole.

In the next couple of days, we will activate our new policies and administer consequences for abusive behavior that apply not only to using Wayfarer, but across ALL Niantic games and products. When this new policy takes effect, it will address not only all new abusers but will also work retroactively for up to a year. Additionally, over the next couple of months we will devote a lot of our resources to building new automated detection tools.

We’re excited to see how this new work makes Wayfarer and all Niantic games a better place to explore the world together. As we finalize details and approach different phases of implementing this work, we will share more details and make announcements as we are rolling out this new Abuse management process.


We know that we’ve gone back and forth on what the next steps are for updating or changing the criteria. After spending time internally exploring different solutions, finding out the original intent of the criteria as it’s been set, we’ve decided it’s best to refrain from making extensive changes to the criteria.

With these criteria, we aim to ensure that the community is able to bring unique and significant places we may have never discovered. Niantic is not a fully global company, and as such we know there will be gaps in our knowledge of the culture’s significance and nuance when it comes to building the map. With the criteria as they are, we’re ensuring that we do not push our limited view point and lean on the community to help identify what should or should not be added to the map.

With that being said, as part of our new review flow we do plan to improve onboarding and resources to help guide new users through what should and should not be considered as they review nominations to create a better sense of consistency.

Wayfarer App

Last time we shared on our roadmap we had planned to bring you the Wayfarer App to the Explorer community this summer. We spent the first half of the year with renewed leadership and focus on the Wayfarer team, and have determined it’s critical to first improve the overall Wayfarer experience and review flow before moving to a new dedicated app. This means that we have deprioritized the Wayfarer app and will not be releasing it to the Explorer community this year.

Instead, our focus and resources will be spent enhancing the existing platform and experience by improving the review flow and making the entire Wayfarer experience more enjoyable by taking a firm stance on abuse across the platform and the community. This approach will allow us to focus on addressing any challenges or limitations before potentially duplicating them by launching a separate app experience.

We apologize for this change and understand that for some it may be disappointing. We understand the convenience that an app could offer, but feel it is not the right thing at this time. In the future, we may revisit this decision or look for other ways to make Wayfarer easier to access in different games or mobile environments, but first we want to prioritize our time and resources to ensure we provide the enhanced and improved Wayfarer experience that you’ve been asking for.

(originally posted July 2023)