When Pokémon Go was the biggest trend of the week, I created a tool to show heatmaps where each Pokémon appears most often.
Heatmap showing Pokémon Go sightings of Poliwag in London
The week when Pokémon Go became available worldwide was very crazy. It exploded as the most hyped game of the summer, and it seemed that everyone was playing it.
Quite quickly, people developed tools to query the API for locations, allowing to find if certain pokémon were at any given spot. This hunting with live maps was incredibly powerful way to find rare pokémons.
I came up with an idea to use this API to create heatmaps instead of live maps. For 4 cities — New York, London, Tokyo and my own city Vilnius — I queried the API non-stop for as big a radius as I could, registering millions of pokémon “appearances”: moments when a certain pokémon spawned at a coordinate.
I then used this data to build heatmaps: over a hundred images, for for each pokémon, for each city. You could see, for instance, that:
Pinser appeared almost exclusively in Central Park in New York:
Paras really liked the western part of Hyde park, London:
In Tokyo, Pikachu was spawning in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden:
Finally, in Vilnius, Lickitung could only be found on the Gediminas castle hill.
These maps, that I later shared on reddits and Facebook groups, were a major hit. However soon after I compiled this data, Niantic, developers of Pokémon Go, locked down the API so it was impossible to run the script anymore.
Below are some of the more interesting pokémon heatmaps.
Charmander in New York could most often be found around the American Museum of Natural History
Pidgey is a pokémon that appeared everywhere — except in Tokyo no pokémon ever appeared on the island of Imperial Palace.
Ratata in London: mostly everywhere, but avoids parks.
Oddish in Vilnius had its favorite little park.
In New York, Meowth had a very beautiful distribution.
In most cities Psyduck could be found around water. In London it was also all over Battersea Park.
Slowpoke is another pokémon that's more common around water, but usually also picks a “favorite park”, if it makes any sense.
Magnemite in New York: I'm sure there's some kind of logic, but I can't decipher it.
Magikarp makes all the coasts glow in all the cities.
Like Pikachu, Magmar also picked a “favorite park” in Tokyo.