Pokémon Go maker Niantic has long struggled to maintain its database of real-world places used in all of its games - but there's a new tool which may solve all that.
Until recently you could only edit, suggest and review new places in Pokémon Go by submitting them as Portals in the company's original game Ingress. But this process has been complicated by Ingress relaunching, and suggestions being granted to high-level Pokémon Go players in a selection of countries.
With more submissions flooding in (Pokémon players can only suggest - not edit or review), this in turn put increased pressure on Ingress users to clear the backlog of submissions. All have to be manually reviewed to make sure someone isn't just nominating their front garden.
So the announcement last night of Niantic Wayfarer, a newly-created browser-based tool which doesn't require you to use either Ingress or Pokémon Go to do these things, has been warmly received.
Access is limited right now to Ingress users, though Pokémon Go players will be included before the end of the year.
Why is this important? All of Niantic's games revolve around the company's database of real-world locations. These Wayspots become Portals in Ingress, and a selection become PokéStops/Gyms in Pokémon Go and Inns/Taverns/Fortresses in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
They are key to how people play each game - and the addition of new Wayspots in useful places is a highly-requested feature among players of all Niantic games, in order to make playing them more fruitful. It's especially important to players in rural areas, who may not currently have enough Waypoints around them to play without travelling elsewhere.
Now, about my front garden...