Now that I am level 40, I can now submit my own waypoints in Pokemon Go, to be reviwwed. But I can also go to Niantic Wayfarer and review other people’s waypoint submissions. It’s all a rather simple, clean layout on wayfarer.nianticlabs.com. And I think it’s worth looking at.
Niantic uses Wayfarer to determine whether points of interest in the real world are any good or not. By giving you a photo, a description, a picture of the surrounding area, some Google Maps and a 5-star rating system, you can judge on interesting things nearby.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, before you start, you have to do a 10 question test as well. Frankly I feel like some of the questions are trick questions, since one of them asked about a point of interest that is on a roundabout with no visible pedestrian access but you can’t see that from the photos. But as long as you’re not an idiot, it’s a pretty easy test.
Once you’re ready, you are given a picture, a title and description, a picture of the nearby area and a location on a map. You are then asked whether you think this picture would make a good waypoint. The picture and description are given a rating out of 5 stars. You also need to review whether you think the waypoint is historically or culturally important, whether it is visually distinct and whether it’s safe to access. The latter simply means can you walk safely to it, via a park or pavement or other pedestrian area. You can also mark nominations as duplicates via a map, and you have to rate how close to the physical location the waypoint is.
Then you hit submit and move on to the next nomination. If you’re lucky, it’s somewhere you recognize, but most of the time it could be anywhere. The nominations are always somewhat nearby. Somewhat.
Because of my location, “nearby” though has a very weird meaning.
There’s two things going on here. The first issue is that, out of about 90 things I reviewed, only one single nomination was actually, genuinely nearby. As in, within 50km of me. Every other nomination was at least 100km away from me (up near Lefkosia). After I hit the 150 reviews mark, I did get to see a couple of edits for existing points of interest. But I only saw one single new nomination.
But in the grand scheme of things, 150-200km away from me is literally as far away from my location as I can get without wandering into the sea. Because I live on a small island, I get not just weird nominations that are somewhat far away but they are hard to see as well. Particularly any Turkish-Cypriot nominations, because Google Maps doesn’t really give me a good idea where they are. Lacking Street View also makes pinpointing nominations tricky because you need to be able to approximate where they are in real life.
Gonna be honest though, I feel like I’m helping out people in Lefkosia with plenty of points of interest far more than people in villages trying to nominate the village church.
And then there’s the problem of running out of reviews.
I kid you not, I managed to review enough waypoints that Wayfarer stopped giving me more to do. I also had to do a few captchas. At first, I thought I was reviewing these nominations too fast. But I do genuinely think I am running out of things to review. After all, the Wayfarer user base for Cyprus is probably pretty damn small. I did eventually get some more, but because you can’t review your own nominations, unless other people make some, I’ll run out again.
You can also see your own nominations and you can edit them somewhat, but there’s little else to them. Depending on how other reviewers agree with you, you can earn some sort of point thing that goes towards upgrades. Upgrades are only used for prioritizing nominations, nothing else. In a smaller community though, it’s still going to be a slow progress when it comes to reviews.
Simple and boring but not actually that bad.
Despite sounding boring and tedious, I actually quite enjoy reviewing these things. Because maybe, one day, some of these waypoints will become Pokestops in Pokemon Go…