Trainers,

this weeks Ingress AMA (Ask me Anything) has finished, featuring Andrew Krug, Niantic’s Global Community Manager working on Ingress. This weeks AMA has answered a few interesting questions related to the recent switch from Google Maps to OSM (OpenStreetMap) and some other topics.

Be aware that our current information strongly suggests that all NIA games (Ingress, Pokémon GO and the upcoming HP: Wizards Unite title) share the same mapping and POI (Points of Interest) data set. Everything that changes in Ingress changes also in Pokémon GO directly.

#1 The switch to OpenStreetMap is permanent

We know that this will upset some of our readers, but the switch is permanent. There is no going back to Google Maps, so if your local map has been decimated, the only way to fix it is to contribute to OpenStreetMap.

OSM is now used in Ingress, Pokémon GO and (probably) in the upcoming Wizards Unite Harry Potter game. Although we don’t know all the details, our sources have hinted that the change has occurred for streamlining the development process and reducing the dependency on Google’s services.

The following was shared in the AMA

  • Q44: Austin freddd123 – Can you give us any insight on why the map tiles in Ingress were changed from Google Maps to Open Street Maps and whether or not that’s a permanent change?A44: This is a permanent change.

#2 The OSM update frequency is not yet decided, but it will happen

Luckily, the switch to OSM is not the end of your local map. All of the accepted updates will be eventually in Pokémon GO, but it will take some time before it happens. At the moment, the update frequency is still undecided, but it will happen.

This answer refers to the in-game map itself, no the location of PokéStops / Gyms / Ingress portals. We’re talking about streets, parks, etc here.

The following was shared in the AMA:

  • Q89: mogu squad – I have edited OpenStreetMap because the roads were disappeared on the scanner by switching from Google map to OSM. When will the editing result be reflected in Ingress?A89: We are still determining the update frequency.

#3 Changes to sponsored locations are reviewed by sponsors before they’re updated

Although this is a rare occasion, Ingress sponsored locations are sometimes placed in the wrong place. When reported, the location can take a while before it changes. A similar thing can happen in Pokémon GO, but it’s not as common as in Ingress.

Krug has clarified why it takes so long for the map to be updated:

  • Q25: Penny Taylor – Am curious why it takes so long for corrections, removals, etc to be acted on. I have submitted several and some go back to maybe June. One being a Circle K placement. Reported the first day it came on line. Its abt a block away on a side road. Have had several folks report it yet there it stands.A25: Edits to Sponsored Portals are vetted by the sponsor before they go live. For all other Portals, as long as you have received the acknowledgement email, you don’t have to resubmit.

#4 Niantic discusses transparency internally

It con often look like Niantic is a complete black box when it comes to development, player interaction and data transparency. However, Krug has verified that they are discussing  their transparency policy internally.

  • Q83: Brian Tao – Does Niantic and NIAOps have discussions internally about tweaking their policy on transparency with their players?

    A83: Yes, we do.

  • Brady Newton

    i would really like that the houses would be 3d and there would me mountain ranges and valleys and hills not just a flat landscape. It is definetly possible i hope niantic pushes a little farther

    • Nuclear

      Some trees on the map will do the job as well

      • Brady Newton

        Yeah that would also be nice. You should also be able to get extra Pokémon bonuses when you are high up like on a mountain or a hill.

    • Chanderule

      As if the potato servers buring down whenever 3 or more people raid isnt enough

      • Brady Newton

        huh? potato servers? 3 raids?? what do you mean?

        • Chanderule

          potato servers = bad servers
          And I said three people in a raid at a time, which can trigger the beautiful dodge glitch we all know and love (or use a charge attack TWICE, I really love it when Ho-oh kills two of my Mon with a single move)

          • Brady Newton

            oh ok

        • Chanderule

          potato servers = bad servers
          And I said three people in a raid at a time, which can trigger the beautiful dodge glitch we all know and love (or use a charge attack TWICE, I really love it when Ho-oh kills two of my Mon with a single move)

        • Chanderule

          potato servers = bad servers
          And I said three people in a raid at a time, which can trigger the beautiful dodge glitch we all know and love (or use a charge attack TWICE, I really love it when Ho-oh kills two of my Mon with a single move)

        • Chanderule

          potato servers = bad servers
          And I said three people in a raid at a time, which can trigger the beautiful dodge glitch we all know and love (or use a charge attack TWICE, I really love it when Ho-oh kills two of my Mon with a single move)

          • spoofer

            I hate that back-to-back cahrge move…

    • Patrick Terry Jr.

      dude……that would freaking wreck your battery, PoGo kinda already does that as it is, so no thanks

      • Brady Newton

        True but I have a wireless charger so it really wouldn’t drain it

    • AlphaOkami

      I like the idea of adding a Z-axis to the game in the form of real-world terrain/elevation changes. How would it be implemented, though?

      • Brady Newton

        they would use google earth and scan it and find were the trees and mountains are. They have already done 3d stuff like the pokemon and the trainer are 3d. They could do it. I am a computer coder myself and it is definitly possible

  • ikato kiyazaki

    They made enough money off google and now niantic think they are big enough to go seperate ways.. google is known worldwide, wtf is openstreetmap?

    • peponzio

      Open Street Map is an effort to provide free and open source data for maps, geographical locations, and general points of interest. It is a long time tradition for governments to provide free and accurate maps for private, public and even personal use.

      But google made it easier and started giving it to everyone and why not charge a little money for its use. Individual governments are still working to have these maps updated and freely and publicly available but that data is not as easily accesible as google maps (APIs and general user friendly apps) and is often shared with other countries through time wasting paperwork. Google has it all in one place and has workers specifically designing easier and better ways to provide such data, with no paper work and at a small price.

      OSM on the other hand tries to have the map data that used to be free and publicly available to be free again and be publicly available.

      There is quite a list of apps and services which use OSM (which can be seen here http://wiki. openstreetmap. org/wiki/List_of_OSM-based_services). And many companies and services have switched from paid map services to OSM. These services comprise quite a few countries and continents, making OSM known worldwide.

      Although google maps is known by many more people (specially end users who do not specialize in APIs and app services), OSM is still a relevant and useful tool known all around the world.

  • Mike D

    When the double charge move does pop up on the second occasion does it work?

    • Mike D

      P.S. admin, my first post after only reading for 6 months so excuse my ignorance if this is not a valid comment. I wish they had a Q&A for Pokémon Go users worried about the HP app and if they want help with the BETA from us…. (PGO users)

      • Jessica Reid

        Why would Pokemon go users need to be worried about the Harry potter app? No reason to be. Just he people playing both games and if they use the same things then yes, places like the believe sign and all the fun places will be for wizards also

  • Robdebobrob

    Nothing about any changes to millitary terrain? It still looks ridiculous…

  • Brad

    HowTF does a major highway NOT exist? Parts of US54, in El Paso, don’t show on the map. Many streets are also missing here. Niantic is like a bunch of monkeys with a football.