/ POKEMON, NIANTIC

The Definitive Guide on how to submit the Perfect Pokestop/Portal - Part 1

Part 2, Part 3

So! You’re now level 40 on Pokemon Go or level 10 on Ingress and you can barely wait until you can submit that couch Pokestop you’ve been waiting for, or you want a new Portal on that S2 Cell Level 17 that already has a Pokestop… Wait, you don’t know what an S2 Cell is? Never heard of a “Wayspot” or about Niantic Wayfarer? So STOP EVERYTHING! If you continue submitting stuff without reading at least a little bit about it, you can end up making the gameplay worse for you community!

Before and after. I managed to put 2 "Couch Stops" on my street :)

Introduction

Pokestops, Portals, Inns or any other Point of Interest (PoI) on all Niantic games have the same names, they are all Wayspots - a very important name to remember since I’ll be using it a lot moving forward.

Contrary to what many believe, when you submit a new Wayspot for review, it won’t be review by Niantic. People who approves new Wayspots are all Ingress or Pokémon Go players! This is why it’s very important for you to follow the rules and make the reviewers job easier when submitting a new Wayspot. Keep in mind that those who are reviewing your couch Portal are doing it out of love for the game and the community and, if you do a half-assed job on your submission or try to cheat on it, you will get caught and your submission won’t go through!

There are a TON of great Points of Interest that could’ve become a Pokestop or a Portal but were refused during review because the picture was bad, the description contained orthographical errors, they submitted on the wrong location or didn’t properly have a good supporting description to explain WHY that Wayspot was significant to that community.

But don’t worry! If you follow this guide the chances of getting your Wayspot approved will be greatly increased!

What cannot become a Wayspot

I know that you want to rush and start learning how to submit Pokestops and Portals, but more important than learning how to submit them is learning what can’t be submitted. This is a crash course with some of the most common things that a reviewer may find during the review process. All those submissions below are real.

  • Natural Features
    • Waterfalls, Oak Trees, Beautiful flower field, Volcanoes, a Great View or any other natural feature are not eligible to becoming Wayspots by themselves.
    • Plaques that indicate the name of the Waterfall or explain what kind of Oak Tree that is are eligible and CAN become Wayspots.

This tree is not a valid Wayspot.

  • Generic Businesses

    • Everyone in your community knows how great that one bar is, but that doesn’t make it eligible to becoming a Wayspot. Much less your local Supermarket.
    • Restaurants and business that are part of the historical narrative of your city like “Confeitaria Colombo” in Rio de Janeiro (created in 1894) can become Wayspots since it’s a tourist attraction and it’s located on a historical building. But you need a great description to convince the reviewers!

    Q:51 Stephen Herr - How unique does a business have to be to not be rejected as a “generic business”? I’ve been told that reject reasoning is specific to chain restaurants/businesses, but I get a restaurant rejected that is a hot-spot. How cultural/historic does a business have to be in order to be accepted?

    A51: NIA OPS replied with, “It would depend on the combination of the Title/Description/Photo used. If the Restaurant is a significant location in the city, explaining that in the description might help the reviewers take the right call.”

    Feb 14, 2019

    • Graffiti or other art on store walls can become Wayspots - unless that graffiti is a blatant ad for the store (contains the store Name or Phone Number for instance).

Historical business are eleigible for nomination!

  • Private Property or Farms

    • Farms are not eligible for Wayspots.
    • ANY Submission inside private property will be 1* (One Starred) on sight and rejected!
      • It’s extremely important to say that Condominiums and common areas on Buildings do not count as Private Property. According to Niantic, Private Property are only “Residences where only one family lives”
  • Bus Stops or day-to-day Bike racks

    • There may be some of those available as Wayspots in the game or in your area and some may still be approved, but it’s been said by Niantic that they are not eligible for Wayspots, unless there’s something artistic or historic about them. In those cases you’ll need a great supporting info and win the reviewer lottery :P

      Q14: Jud Burkett (canon07) - Can you ask the OPR folks for their thoughts on bike share stations? Seems to me like they’d be a great “get out and explore” type of portal.

      A14: NIA OPS replied, “These are similar to transit stations, if these are large enough, have a structure, or are artistic, these could be considered. If it’s just a regular bike rack, it wouldn’t meet our criteria.”

      Nov 1, 2018

  • Your house, your feet, your Eeveelution Sticker collection or even your Clarinet

    • Yes, as amazing as that would be, you cannot become a Wayspot. Not even your “Stand up Clarinet”, neither your Eeveelution sticker collection. (Those are all real submission I’ve reviewed)

I applaud their efforts, tho. (not really)

To learn more what can or cannot become a Wayspot, me and @HyperMilla developed the Wayfarer Index, a database where you search for tags such as “School”, “Hospital or “Statue” and it’ll tell you if that thing is eligible or not according to Niantic’s Guides and previous AMAs with the community.

Access it on: www.WayfarerIndex.com

The Basics

Well, now that you know what can or cannot become Wayspots let’s continue to what matters. But first, I need to warn Pokémon Go players:

~~ ATTENTION POKÉMON GO PLAYERS! ~~

Pokémon Go DOES NOT SHOW all of the existing Wayspots in the game! This is why you can end up receiving “Your submission wasn’t accepted because it was a duplicate” e-mail. Other Niantic games such as Ingress and HPWU have ALL the Wayspots on them but Pokemon Go is more restricted (more on that on Part 3). So please, before submitting anything, download Ingress or Harry Potter Wizards Unite and see if what you’re trying to turn into a Wayspot already exists or not!

Example:

Take a look at the Wayspots 1, 2 and 3 that exist on Ingress and HPWU but are not Pokestops on PoGo.

There’s a reason why those Wayspots do not show up on Pokemon Go, and there are ways to understand that limitation and make the best use of it to create valid Wayspots, more on that on Part 3 of the guide.

Now that this is out of the way let’s go to where you want to place a new Wayspot, once you get there open up the Submission menu on either Pokemon Go or Ingress.

1. Location

First you need to choose the location of your Wayspot. This is the easiest thing (for now), but later on you’ll need to take a ton of care when placing Wayspots in a more “advanced” way.

Some things to pay attention to when choosing your location:

  • Verify if that Point of Interest already exists as Wayspots on Ingress or Harry Potter.
  • If you place the Pin far from your Point of Interest it won’t be accepted.
  • If you place your Pin too close to other Wayspots your submission won’t become a Wayspot.
    • Wayspots have an invisible 20 meter radius around them that, if you place your Submission Pin inside, it won’t become a Pokestop/Portal. Even if it is accepted by the reviewers!
    • It is possible to visualize this Radius using specific Apps/Plugins, more on that on Part 3.
  • If you place the Pin far away from where people usually transit (like a sidewalk or a trail) no one will be able to Spin your Pokestop or Hack your Portal.
  • The Pin doesn’t need to be exactly on top of your Point of Interest, but it should be close. Rule of thumb is 20 meters or less.
  • Reviewers can suggest a new place for your Point of Interest so, if you try to cheat or accidentally misplace your Pin, chances are it will be moved! (or outright rejected)

Below is an example of a Wayspot that someone placed on a “impossible to reach” place. This Wayspot is a Church that’s almost always closed and, although you can definitely access the building by that street over there, the person who submitted it misplaced the pin by putting it too far away from the road. We now have a Wayspot occupying a Level 17 Cell that no one can access. Thanks.

Whyyyyyy :'(

2. Photo

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect location, it’s time to take the perfect picture for your future Wayspot. Taking a good picture is 90% good taste and basic photography skills, but apart from that there are some rules that must be followed for your submission.

  • The Point of Interest must cover at least 80% of the total image!
    • Don’t take pictures that are too far away from the Point of Interest, in last case use your camera’s Digital Zoom feature!
    • Do not take pictures while in motion! Blurred pictures will be rejected.
    • Do not take pictures with low quality cameras that doesn’t properly show the Point of Interest.
  • Try taking your picture on landscape mode (turn your phone sideways) because Niantic does some crappy zooming in and it may crop your picture in a bad way.
  • Do not take Night Photos unless the Point of Interest has exquisite lighting.
  • Do frame your Photo well, tilted pictures will be refused!
    • There’s a 1* reason specifically for tilted pictures!
  • Photon taken from inside your car will be rejected!
  • Turn off your camera’s watermark! If your Photo has any watermark on it it’ll be rejected immediately!
  • If your finger shows in the picture your submission will be rejected.
  • If you can identify someone by either showing their face, phone number or anything else, your submission will be rejected.
  • If a car’s license plate shows in the picture your submission will be rejected.

Quiktip: After taking your photo, the game will show you how that picture will show up if it becomes a Wayspot. Think that others will judge that picture and, if you think that you can do better, please do so! It’ll take you less than 30 seconds.🙂

Below are examples of submissions that I or others made that could’ve been improved.

This was one of my first submissions. Once I learned about license plates I re-submitted it with a way better picture and framing.

Turn off your camera’s watermark! It’s extremely easy to spot them and they will disqualify your submission in an instant! Look at the perfect submission below for example.

This probably would've been accepted if not for the watermark.

Another thing to have in mind is taking pictures on Landscape mode (tiled phone), and centering the Point of Interest in the middle of the frame. Niantic has the nasty habit of cropping out the pictures in really bad ways, here are some examples.

Look in the left how the middle image shows up. On the right there are some more cropping examples.

To do this properly turn on the 3x3 Grid on you camera and centralize the most important part of your Point of Interest in the middle square!

Thanks to the player @Hydraulinski for this tip!

3. Support Photo

STOP EVERYTHING! The Support Photo is what most of the Submissions get wrong and rejected for! So pay attention to this part to increase your chances by 300%!

This part of the Guide is based on the user u/RodriTama on Reddit. He’s also a Brazilian but from São Paulo. Click here for his guide.

First things first, the Support Picture is the photo that will be used by the reviewer to judge if that Point of Interest exists, if it’s placed on an accessible place, if it’s not on a dangerous place and more. This picture should also be the most reliable one because in many parts of the world there’s no Google Street View or there are places that Google Street View exist but it’s incredibly out of date! So remember: always show your Point of Interest in this picture alongside the environment around it!

  • On the main submission Photo 80% of the picture must include the Point of Interest but in the support photo this is reversed, your point of interest must only be around 20% of the total picture!
    • To achieve this it might be a good idea to cross the street or take a bunch of steps back!
  • NEVER take the support photo from the point of view of the Point of Interest! The Point of Interest must always be present in the picture, but be very small on it!
  • Always include the Point of Interest in your Support Photo!

Here are some examples of GOOD support photos:

This support photo is very simmilar to what a Google Streetview would show.

Even though the Point of Interest is just a trash can (rejected), the proportions of it in the entire Support Photo is great! You can see where it is in the street, how large the streetwalk is, everything nearby...

The main photo is a bit covered by trees but the support photo helps us understand its context in the world and the support photo is at the same angle as the main one, which helps.

The main photo focus on the sign and the support photo focus on it's surroundings. In the satellite image its possible to see the red strip on the street (so you know that it's the correct place). It's also irrelevant for the reviewer to read the sign on the support photo, what he's looking for here are other informations.

Personal Examples:

The the left is the Main Photo, focusing on the Point of Interest (remember, 80% of the Photo). On the right is the Support Photo focusin on its surroundings (remember, 20% of the Photo), so the reviewer can better see how accessible that table is and that it's located in the place where I put the location Pin.

Exemple of how to NOT submit a Support Photo:

This one is acceptable but it would be 10x better if the person crossed the street and took a picture from a bit further.

This is a bit like the one before but worse. It's practically the same as the main photo, showing not much else of the surroundings. Remember: the most important thing in the support photo is the surroundings, with the Point of Interest present in it!

Here is an inverted case, the support picture is great and perfectly shows the surroundings with the PoI, inside but the main picture was taken from too far away and you can barely see the Point of Interest! Remember folks: 80% of the Main Photo must contain the PoI!

The main picture shows one side of the Point of Interest and the Support Picture shows the other side. There's no gain in just showing more of the PoI, the important thing is the surrouding area, a great picture would've been if the submitter took it from the other side of the street.

The "same" photo. NEVER. EVER. DO THAT.

Main Photo has a strange angle, showing a bit of the sky and the support photo is really close, you can just see a bit of the roof. Reviewers are not mediums, they need to see what they are analising!

Main Photo doesn't focus on the Point of Interest (the Fish Graffiti) and it even shows the place's phone number (1 star disqualify). Supporting picture doesn't show anything! It's probably taking from the Point of View of the submission. NEVER DO THIS! The most important thing is showing the Point of Interest IN the surrounding area! How else will the reviewer know that the PoI is actually there?

Another important piece of information, especially for those that live in rural zones is learning how to submit a Photosphere using Google Street View. This is THE BEST way to get your Point of Interest accepted as quickly as possible! A Photosphere will let the reviewer know everything about the submission and it’s really easy to make, remember: some Street View pictures I’ve found were as old as 2011! Cities where built since then!

Read Part 2 to learn how to make Photospheres using the Google Street View app.

4. Title

This is a simple step, just decide on a nice title for your Wayspot. Remember to be creative, don’t call a graffiti just “Grafitti” or “Fish Graffiti” (like the submission above). Be descriptive with details, but don’t use a lot of characters. If you’re trying to turn a statue into a Wayspot make sure to include the name of the piece like “Maria mother of Jesus Statue” or “Barack Obama Bust”. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Orthographical errors will disqualify your submission!

  • Choose a descriptive and creative name.
  • Never write everything IN CAPS or everything in lowercase! Remember that a well written title has both Uppercase and Lowercase letters, like a nicely written sentence.
  • Remember to put the name of the piece in the title if there’s one available. “Oscar Niemeyer’s Memorial” is a good example.
  • In certain areas there are some patterns. In Brazil almost all graffit has an “Arte Urbana” as prefix, like “Arte Urbana Olhar Profundo”. But this could change from region to region, but try to keep those patterns just for consistency sake :)

5. Wayspot Description

Description is one of those areas that most people blaze through. But if your description is well made it could turn a rejection into an approval!

Descriptions should contain the history of that Point of Interest or describe what its for or the importance it has over the community. If you’re submitting a Hyperspot (a place the locals frequent and you think should be included) the description is what’s going to make it or break it for your submission! So please do not describe it just as “Local famous restaurant”, write something like “Open since 1959, this Italian Restaurant has won prizes such as the Cordón Bleau and is considered to be one of the main Tourist Attractions in the city”.

It’s also important to say that when you’re submitting someone’s art (such as a Painting or Graffiti) it’s recommended to add the Author’s name in the description! So if the art you’re trying to submit was signed by anyone please do them a favor and credit them on your submission :) Example: “Graffiti demonstrating the love between two cybernetic ducks. Art by Jules Verne.”

  • Describe the Wayspot, the better your description it, the bigger its chances do be accepted.
  • Do not reference Niantic Games on the Description.
  • Don’t lie in your description, reviewers will notice it.
  • Do not write the reason for it to be accepted in the description!

    • There’s a specific field to write a text directly to the reviewers.
  • Do not try to send messages to the reviewers using the description!

    • There’s a specific field to write a text directly to the reviewers.
  • Give credits to the artist responsible for the art you’re trying to submit in the description.
  • Don’t leave the description in blank.
  • Remember that when submitting a Hyperspot, 98% of your submission acceptance or denial rate will be based on how amazing your description is. Otherwise it’s 1* > Generic Business.

On the left: "Memorial Plaque celebrating the place and date of birth of the illustrious Oscar Niemeyer, one of the world's most famous architect." On the right: "Historical house that was utilized as a Buddhist Temple during the 90's. It's construction is dated on 1908, historical patrimony of the City of Rio de Janeiro."

6. Supporting Information

This is where you and the reviewer have a nice chat! Write here why this Point of Interest deservs to become a Wayspot! In case it’s not an obviously eligible thing like a Statue or a Bust, explain about its history and its importance to your community, if it’s a famous restaurant you need to explain here why it is famous and why it deserves to become a Wayspot. If you’re submitting a Point of Interest that could easily be mistaken for a duplicate it’s here that you explain to the reviewer that your submission is not a duplicate and why it shouldn’t be mistaken as one! And don’t forget: be polite and don’t tell the reviewer what to do!

  • Never explain to the reviewer what he should do!
  • Do not beg for you submission to be accepted, no one likes to see that and it just makes the reviewer look for small excuses to deny your submission.
  • Be Polite.
  • Remember that not everyone who is going to review your submission speaks your language.

    • Write in whatever language you speak if you live in a big country.
    • Write in English (or any other language you think is best) in case you live in some places in Europe or small countries.
  • Write the reason why this Point of Interest should become a Wayspot.
  • The Point of Interest is hidden? The Street View is old? Warn the reviewers about any such issues here!
  • This Point of Interest could be mistaken for a duplicate? Write here how the reviewer could best check that your submission is NOT a duplicate (such as looking at the photo or the location of the submission)
  • Your submission could be mistaken to be in a forbidden area (such as Schools or Private Property), write here how the reviewer can properly check that you submission is not in those areas.
  • If you know about any updates on Wayfarer rules you can warn your reviewer about it here!

    • Pools and Bridges on Trails/Parks are now accepts as Wayspots but not everyone know about this, for instance. So use this space to warn the reviewers about those changes so they can review it accordingly!
    • Make sure you’re not mansplaining it or doing so in an obnoxious way.

Some examples of good Supporting Informations:

Remember, if this submission itself is valid or not is another story.

Have a nice day Wayfarer! This house is a historic patrimony of the city, built in 1908 (check the main photo on the top of the building to see the date engraved). A hidden jewel on a dead end street, more people should be aware of those places.

This Graffiti is located in front of a bus stop on Rua Alice, a very busy place during the week (you can check that this is a bus stop by looking at the supporting Google map.

Hello Wayfarer, have a nice day! I want to clarify that this submission is not placed on School Grounds but it's placed on the Chapel's grounds, so it must be inside Niantic's Guidelines. It can clearly be seen on the street and people can go inside there during the weekend to pray. Thanks.

And that’s it!

If you’ve read it up till here I can guarantee you’re already better at submitting Wayspots than 90% of the Lvl 40’s PoGo players and Level 10’s Ingress players! But this is just the beginning of the journey! There’s still more to learn if you want to submit the Perfect Wayspot!

Let’s head on to Part 2 or directly to the advanced level on Part 3

If you want to leave feedback, suggestions or critiques you can reach me on my twitter below!

Cheers!

@elamhut