If you’ve been wondering how to find Pikachu, Scyther, Electabuzz, or any other rare Pokémon, you might not have to wait much longer: new crowdsourced Pokémon Go maps are teaching players how to find Pokémon in Pokémon Go.
At least four Pokémon Go maps are available: the first, at Pokecrew.com, zeroes in on your location and begins showing what Pokémon might be nearby. And if you happen to live in the Boston area, you’re in real luck: a sweet Google Map known as Gotta Catch ‘Em All happens to list all the locations local players have found, complete with a list of rare and ultra-rare Pokémon. A separate Google Map pegs Pokémon locations in Seattle and Tennessee. Pokemapper also provides a worldwide look at Pokémon locations, but without the sophistication of other sites.
Pokémon Go tasks players to go out in the real world and discover new Pokémon, who tend to cluster around interesting real-world landmarks, shops, and other locales. Each player can “capture” a Pokémon using a Pokéball, then train it at a local “gym.” Special items, such as incense and lures, are used to attract new Pokémon to the player. (Macworld’s beginner’s guide to Pokémon Go has more on how the game is played.)
So which map should you use? We’d recommend maps that allow you to enter a specific Pokémon name, then show their locations, as well as displaying a quick guide to what’s around you. For that, we’d definitely recommend the Gotta Catch ‘Em All map if you live in the Boston area—it’s comprehensive, attractive, and detailed. Pokecrew.com comes in second at the moment, however—it quickly shows you the type of Pokémon that’s closest to you, and allows you to scan a map of nearby locations and discover what’s there. Developers are moving fast, though, so expect these to be updated with additional features and Pokémon as time goes on.
Unfortunately, Web pages seem to be the way to go at the moment. There are at least two Android apps to crowdsource Pokemon locations: Map for Pokemon Go: PokemonMap and Pokemap: Find Your GO Pokemons. Neither seem to do the job, according to the app reviews.
On the iOS side, Pokemon Go Maps ($1) lets players enter locations, and has a chat tab for sharing other tips and advice. After two days, it doesn’t have enough reviews for a rating—people must be too busy catching monsters to leave a review. Gabbermap is a free community-powered map that can help you find anything, but just added a bot named @pokebot to help users find rare Pokémon.
So do the Pokémon Go maps destroy the mystery of Pokémon Go? Maybe, or maybe not.
Lucy Guo, one of the Pokecrew developers as well as a product designer at Snapchat and a cofounder at Scale, said she didn’t believe that all of the mysteries of Pokémon have been uncovered. “Hopefully see how Pokémon actually move,” she said on Product Hunt, when asked what the project hopes to discover. “Everyone’s thinking different things, our hypothesis is that it’s time and location based. And we just want to catch ’em all.”
Why this matters: One of the joys of Pokémon Go is discovery: yes, it might be slightly obvious that water Pokémon might cluster around lakes and beaches, but which ones? Is the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art a haven for rare Pokémon? Is Central Park? If you’re simply a believer in discovering what’s out there, well, then consider these “spoilers” and avoid them. On the other hand, if your son or daughter is dying to get their hands on a Pikachu, you might be able to “encourage” them to look in a certain spot—or casually mention that there just might be an Onyx at the mall where you’re taking them shopping.