Pokémon Go draws heavily from Ingress, Niantic Labs' earlier real world exploration game. Each one uses players' location data in order to point them toward landmarks to visit, places to capture and, in the case of Pokémon Go, various monsters to collect.
In Ingress, these are called portals; in Pokémon Go, they're known as PokéStops. But how do you know where these PokéStops are in the rest of the world so that you can plan your travel accordingly? It turns out, Ingress plays a huge role in figuring that out. Major players of the earlier game contributed location data, or intel, to an online database, populating a worldwide map with various notable locations. That's why Pokémon Go already knows the coolest places for you to check out in your local area, accompanied with photos.
Niantic told us that this data has been "touched up" for Pokémon Go, but at launch, players have four years of Ingress data to scrape through. Much of that information is accessible through the Ingress website, which houses a gigantic global intel map pointing to notable spots around the world, as well as more Ingress-specific data. For Pokémon Go players, the important things to look for are the portal locations.
To access the map, you'll need to install Ingress onto your phone. Once you've set up an account, you can then log into the Ingress website. There, you'll find several tools for Ingress players — but we're here to talk about Pokémon Go, so we'll focus on the intel map.
That map might make your head spin at first blush, however. Thankfully, some fans with experience with both titles have developed ways to make the process a bit easier. There's a browser extension you can download for Chrome and Firefox that highlights the spots specifically related to Pokémon Go. More detailed instructions are available on the Pokémon Go subreddit.
For those interested in getting further involved with the game's burgeoning community, Pokémon Go players are inviting anyone to add to a detailed Google map of PokéStops and gym locations. (Gyms are also found in specific spots around the world.) It's not exhaustive yet, which means now's a perfect time for trainers to head out there and help populate this map themselves.
Quick warning: Anyone can edit the name of this publicly available map. You may click on it to find something that's not safe for work.
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