Pokemon Go users can thank Ingress players for all the fun they are having at the moment.
According to developer Niantic Labs, those who played its augmented-reality multiplayer game Ingress helped create the data pool for PokeStops and gyms, the studio told Mashable.
The portal locations for Ingress were based on data for historical markers, “unique local businesses” and artwork pulled from geo-tagged photos on Google.
Ingress players also provided Niantic with locations which they thought would be excellent portals, with 15 million worldwide submissions in all. Five million were approved, with some portals located at the North Pole and Antarctica.
This data helped Niantic get things rolling with Pokemon Go. The most popular Ingress portals are now gyms while other locations are PokeStops.
The type of Pokemon which would appear at these portals was also considered. Using mapping data, the Pokemon Go team “assigned values” based on the environment such as water, climate, vegetation and other factors. So, users should expect the majority of Pokemon types that appear at various locations to match the current surroundings. It most cases at any rate.
At the same time, the team focused on making these stops and gyms not only accessible but “pedestrian-safe” by limiting the areas in which Pokemon spawn – such as in the middle of a highway.
That said, Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke says people should use common sense by keeping their heads up and remaining aware of their surroundings as they would any other app.
In the interview with Mashable, Hanke also confirmed that Pokemon Go will be compatible with other generations of Pokemon in the future through updates.
At launch, only first generation Pokemon are available and compatibility with main Pokemon game releases are in the planning stage. Hanke also reiterated trading will also be added in a future update.
Hanke founded and was CEO at Keyhole, Inc. before it was acquired by Google in 2004. After the acquisition, the company’s main product was renamed Google Earth and he was named company VP of product management and headed up Google’s “Geo” division.
Last year, Nintendo, The Pokemon Company and Google invested a combined $30 million in Niantic Labs. The firm allotted $20 million of the investment to the studio immediately to aid in the continued development of Pokemon Go, Ingress, and future projects.