Change to OpenStreetMap is permanent, maps will be updated in the future and more

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.

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