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Distance tracking has improved – a lot!

Distance tracking has improved – a lot!

We noticed yesterday evening that the egg tracking distance has improved – a lot. Our local friends and family tested the distance tracker in combination with the buddy tracker for around 18 kilometers (*).

The test was conducted in a mixed urban area, with both long straight streets and typical Mediterranean city streets (narrow, lots of corners and turns).  

(*) To answer a question from reddit: “18 km per evening with kids? Are the writers Spartans?” – nah, the kids were in strollers, we just get bored in the evenings. We Croatians walk like we drink coffee – far too long and we talk too much while doing it! 🙂

Here’s what we found out:

  • Overall, we recorded a significant improvement (15%-20%) in tracked distance
  • The tracker behaves as it used to when moving straight – lazy to update the distance if no turns are made
  • The tracker updates more frequently than before
  • Taking turns and moving through random streets in random direction no longer loses distance (at least not a lot)
  • Taking turns and navigating perpendicular streets rewarded more distance than before
  • The maximum tracking speed remained unchanged – around 10.5 km/h
  • GPS loss does not penalise tracking as harsh as it used to
  • The penalty for when you hit Passenger limit is more strict and tends to reward zero or low amount of previous kilometers
  • Buddy kilometers are synced with egg kilometers, but the rounding seems different

Full story

We always use the same route for hatching eggs and evening walks with kids and friends. The route follows the cost, goes through the old city center of Kaštela, Croatia and has quite a few narrow streets and sharp turns along the way.

Usually, we manage to track 9.5 – 11 kilometers per night, even though the real distance is around 18 kilometers. We usually lose a lot of KMs due to narrow streets, lots of corners and sketchy GPS coverage.

Yesterday, we managed to track 13-14 kilometers. The average tracked distance was 13.676 KMs – insanely good for the route!

We noticed that the tracker updated quite more often, usually after taking a turn. It looks like Niantic introduced this mechanism to improve tracking in urban areas. Although not exact, we observed that the game recorded distance 20 – 30 seconds after changing the  direction of movement.

More surprisingly, areas with low GPS coverage are now handled gracefully. Our characters used to jump around the map, but now they keep moving slowly in the last remembered direction.

Information Bias?

After the walk, we sat down for beer and discussed. Honestly, we were sure that the data was wrong and we were tricked into believing the distance tracker got better.

However, we got in touch with a local hardcore player (level 33, 6-8 of play time daily, interview coming soon) and he confirmed that the tracker has indeed improved.

After a bit of digging on reddit, we found that we’re not the only one who observed the same change. We even read through every comment on this thread to make sure that we’re not mistaken.

We walked at a normal, casual walking speed (“kid stroller speed”). We did not change the route in any way. We got significantly more kilometers than we used to get for the same route.

Big thanks to karlo1 for the testing!