The Wayfarer Process: Adding PokéStops

Have you ever wondered why Niantic hasn’t added more PokéStops or Gyms near you? Well, guess what? The power to get more PokéStops lies in YOUR hands! PokéStops are nominated by us Trainers! If you have reached Level 38 in Pokémon GO, you have the ability to nominate PokéStops.

Let’s walk through the process to submit a PokéStop. First, I must point out that Niantic’s Help page has a set of basic instructions on how to do this. For some of you, that help page will be all you need. For others, you might benefit from a screenshot walk-through of a real PokéStop that I added almost one year ago.

Starting the Process

Bare with me, the first part of this is going to look a lot like the Niantic Help page. It will get more unique as we go through the steps.

  1. Tap the Main Menu button. Image of the pokeball that represents the main menu.
  2. At the top right, tap the Settings button. Image of the settings menu.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the menu to tap the New PokéStop button. New Pokestop button in the settings menu.

Step One - Locate your Nomination Item

The Nomination process opens to a map. An orange pin should be on the Map right where you are standing. In most cases, you will be standing next to the item you are submitting. You can interact with the Map if the pin did not correctly find you. You can slide the Map around until the pin is pointing at the correct location for the item. 

Sometimes items are located under tree cover or are difficult to see on satellite. You can toggle to a street view by clicking on Map at the top left of the map window. Toggle between satellite and Map as needed until you find the right location. You can also pinch and zoom to see a smaller or larger area of the Map in either view. Once you are certain about your pin placement, tap the Confirm button.

Step Two - Take a Photo of Your Nomination

The next screen is informational only. It gives you basic pointers on what the photo should look like. Follow these basic principles so that your nomination isn’t rejected due to a poor quality photo. 

In the second image, you’ll see the photo that I submitted for my nomination. Remember that if this nomination is accepted, THIS is the photo that will be used as the photo-disc in the PokéStop. My rule of thumb is to accurately represent the item while also giving an image that is distinct from other PokéStops nearby. 

Think about the Nearby menu on your game. When an interesting pokémon appears at a stop nearby, ideally, you can tell from the tiny image of the photo disc on that screen which stop to go to. This will also help in the approval process. If your photo looks too similar to a PokéStop that already exists, it might be incorrectly tagged as a duplicate. So do what you can to make the photo unique.

This is also the image that will appear on the gift postcards that are sent to friends from this PokéStop.

Step three - Show the Surrounding Area

The next screen is informational only. It explains the purpose of the supplemental photo. This photo is only used during the review process; it will not appear in the game at any time.

In the second image, you will see that I framed the supplemental photo to show the:

  • item I was nominating (seriously, don’t forget to do this)
  • the immediate area surrounding the item (emphasis on showing safe pedestrian access by sidewalk)
  • street signs to help locate the item on a map

You won’t always have the luxury of including street signs to help reviewers locate the item. When you can do so, it goes a long way to prove the item is where you claim. 

Step four - Add a Title and Description

The title you choose will be the name of the PokéStop. If the PokéStop later becomes a Gym, it will be the name of the Gym. Think about how you will coordinate raids at this potential Gym when you create the title. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Be as brief as possible (Sign – too brief)
  • Be as unique as possible (Atlanta Sign – better)
  • Be as descriptive as possible (Atlanta Population Sign – just right) 

The description you enter in this step will show up in the game. Give details on what this nomination is that others might find interesting. Do not include any of the following:

  • References to Pokémon, PokéStops, or any other Niantic games
  • Emojis
  • HTML or URLs
  • Language designed to influence reviewers

Step five - Explain Why you think this is a good nomination

The last part of the process ties it all together – why should this be a PokéStop in the game? This is where you can explain what this item means to your community. Is it historically or culturally relevant? Does it meet one of Niantic’s core principles? If the reviewer might have a hard time finding the item on a map, explain why. 

I actually changed the screenshot for this part. When I originally submitted this, all I provided was a link to an Atlanta Journal/Constitution article that described the history of this landmark. That would have been easy for reviewers to copy and paste into a browser, but for the purposes of this article, it looked awful.

Final Thoughts

It’s a really cool feeling to get PokéStops approved and added to the game. First, you get the excitement of seeing that white halo around a new stop and knowing that you created that thing. Then you spin it, receive a gift, and get to send that gift to someone on your friends list. One day, you’ll get a gift from that PokéStop back from a friend, and it will almost be full circle.  The truly special pleasure comes when that PokéStop flips to a gym, and your community has a new place to raid.

Until then, I hope this added a little bit of depth to the basic instructions on the Niantic Help page. As always, feel free to ask questions below or join the Wayfarer discord for more detailed advice. 

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"Gatherer of facts." I love knowing stuff. I love redistributing that knowledge.

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