Tips for new (Pokemon Go) mappers

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

We’ve recently seen a flurry of new map editing activity from “Pokémon Go” players. This page shows some tips for our new mappers coming from Pokémon Go published originally on the OpenStreetMap Blog.[1]


OpenStreetMap is a huge database with roads, rivers, forests, water, ... and much more. It is the data that powers the maps on Facebook Maps, Instagram Maps,, OsmAnd and many more.

This map is freely usable by everyone (and thus powers a lot of applications) and is freely editable by everyone (after making an account).

If you want to edit the map too, read the hints below.

Pokemon Go?

This hugely popular mobile game uses OpenStreetMap data to generate the in-game map. However there has also been speculation among some players that OpenStreetMap data is used to influence spawn points.[2]

This is interesting for several reasons. We always like to see creative and unexpected uses of our free and open map data, and this certainly fits into that category! (Note: our open license does require crediting OpenStreetMap)

There is some new interest in editing the map from Pokémon Go players, presumably because the game is found to be bringing in updates when changes are made to OpenStreetMap. It always takes new folks some time to get to know OpenStreetMap, and we hope Pokemon Go players will stick around to contribute some more. We’ve prepared the above guidelines to help understand some aspects of OpenStreetMap related to the game.

Tips for new mappers coming from Pokémon Go

So, you want to find rare spawns and came to edit OpenStreetMap? Welcome to our community of people passionate about collaboratively building the best map ever!

Some tips for our new mappers coming from Pokémon Go:


  • do improve the map!
  • do map things that exist on the ground. The map is used by pedestrians, people with disabilities, cyclists, hikers, canoeists, drivers and others. Do not add things -such as footways and beaches- that do not exist
  • do add things you see (i.e. benches, cafes, fire hydrants, bicycle parking spots) or things you know (if your favorite cafe offers free Wi-Fi, the type of cuisine of the nearby diner, accessibility, opening hours, official websites, Wikipedia links)
  • want to add footways? Check what is considered as a footway: highway=footway tag docs. Want to add other features? Have a look at map features and search the wiki
  • do connect your footways with the road network
  • tagging secondary institutions? Use amenity=school. Tagging universities? Use amenity=university
  • do you still have questions? Ask away at
  • do connect with the community! Find your country’s forum, mailing list/twitter account or other contact channel
  • do not add copyrighted data from other maps/sources
  • do find other mappers that improve your neighborhood/city e.g. with the Overview of OpenStreetMap Contributors map (you need to have contributed a bit before your nickname is shown)
  • do check your own stats after you have contributed a bit! e.g. here
  • do check existing events
  • do mention “pokemon” in your changeset comments and a few words about what you added/changed. That will help your neighbor mappers to check the changes you make and maybe provide tips
  • do contribute your GPS traces, especially if you live in a rural area
  • do check the good practice guidelines for more tips.

You and over three million of other contributors make OpenStreetMap possible. Welcome to our community – be excellent to each other and enjoy mapping our  pale blue dot!

See also


  1. Tips for new (Pokemon Go) mappers on OpenStreetMap Blog, Dec 30, 2016. Retrieved on Dec 19, 2017.
  2. Frank, A. Pokémon Go’s maps now look a lot different: Goodbye Google, hello OpenStreetMap on Polygon, Dec 4, 2017. Retrieved on Dec 19, 2017.