Some time ago, I came up with an idea called Operation PokéExplore, a weekend long crowd event to document locations throughout rural areas, small towns, suburbs, and minority community that meets Niantic’s “Candidate Portal criteria” and send them to Niantic via twitter. The goal is to place pressure on Niantic to start accepting submissions for new locations and demonstrate that the game is not living up to the stated intentions for people to explore their world.

What to submit

  • Interesting story behind the location/object
  • Historical significance (apart from just being old)
  • Statues, paintings, mosaics, light installations, etc.
  • Venues that showcase fine art (e.g., performance art theaters and museums)
  • Buildings designed by renowned architects/structures famous specifically for their architecture
  • A popular local spot that you would take a friend visiting your community for the first time
  • A popular spot where locals gather, but may be lesser-known outside the community
  • Tourist spots that showcase local flavor and culture and that make your city/neighborhood unique
  • More off-the-beaten-path tourist attractions (i.e., if you weren’t a local, you wouldn’t necessarily know to go here)
  • Adventurous tourist attractions – think lookout towers, observatories, signs or markers atop mountain peaks, etc.
  • Public libraries
  • Public places of worship

What not to submit

  • Candidates in locations with no safe pedestrian access.
  • Candidates that are not permanent, including seasonal displays that are only put up during certain times of the year.
  • Candidates on private residential property (including farms)
  • Candidates that may interfere with the operations of fire stations, police stations and hospitals
  • Candidates on the grounds of primary/secondary schools

How to submit

First, be sure that your location is turned on in your Twitter app so that your tweet includes the GPS coordinates. Talk a clear photo of the location. Tweet the photo with a short description using the hashtags #PokeExplore @NianticLabs.

Cannot participate in Operation PokéExplore on the specific dates? Do not worry. You can still submit locations after the weekend event is over. And depending on the number of Pokémon Go players participating in Operation PokéExplore, follow-up operations may be possible.


  • Do I have to have my location turned out? Can I take a picture and tweet it later No. The reason for tweeting the location with location services turned on is twofold. First, it allows Niantic to find the location that is being submitted. Second, it demonstrates that the location is within range of cellular data services, which is required for Pokémon Go to function. Until Niantic includes an in-app function to submit locations, this is the best we can do.
  • I already have several of PokéStops and gyms near me, can I still tweet out new locations? That very much depends on your location. Operation PokéExplore is intended to encourage Ninatic to add more PokéStops and gyms in areas that are already underserved, forcing players to travel long distances to reach the next location. If your community already has plenty of locations, but you know of a neighboring community that has few if any locations (such as a minority-populated community), tweet out locations from the neighboring community. However, avoid tweeting out locations that are already served by several PokéStops.
  • Will this actually do any good? It is very likely that Niantic will completely ignore Operation PokéExplore. However, if we—the players—are not willing to put pressure on Niantic and Hanke to add more locations in unserved areas in Pokémon Go, then nothing will change and Pokémon Go will become a largely urban phenomenon rather than a worldwide phenomenon.