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Pokémon Go – An Augmented Reality

By now most everyone on the planet has heard of Pokémon Go and maybe even acquired the highly sought after Legendary Pokémon.  Pokémon Go is a smartphone game released on iOS and Android devices that enables users to find and capture Pokémon, like Mew, using Augmented Reality. The game’s popularity spans across the globe.  

Pokémon Go was developed by Niantic, Inc., which began as an internal Google startup that spun-off in October of 2015. The company itself was started by John Hanke (who is also the current CEO). Hanke was previously the CEO for Keyhole, Inc. until Google acquired it in 2004, at which point their primary product was renamed Google Earth.

One of the main things about Pokémon ever since it came out in Japan 20 years ago, is that every Pokémon has at least one type of specialty (e.g., fire, dark, electric, fairy). Users can find different Pokémon in different habitats. For example, if a player wants to find a water type pokemon, then they’d go to a river or lake. If the player wanted to find grass type pokemon, then a park or forest would be a good place to go.

Pokémon Go displays a map of the user’s location and surrounding buildings and streets in the game. There are two types of in-game landmarks: 1) PokéStops and 2) Gyms. These landmarks were established for Niantic’s previous game, Ingress. Third party tools were used to track Pokémon in Pokémon Go, which obtained data from Niantic and then utilized Google Maps API and Google Maps UI to display the data.  

As long as you have a GPS signal and data connection, players can access an area for each Pokémon to appear on the entire planet. The popularity of the game and world wide phenomenon that is Pokémon Go demonstrates the power and potential of using a dynamic data set with Google Maps.