Jonas Lekevicius

designs and builds digital things.

Pokemon Go map showing sightings of Poliwag in Londond

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:

Pinser in New York

Paras really liked the western part of Hyde park, London:

Paras in London

In Tokyo, Pikachu was spawning in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden:

Pikachu in Tokyo

Finally, in Vilnius, Lickitung could only be found on the Gediminas castle hill.

Lickitung in Vilnius

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

Charmander in New York could most often be found around the American Museum of Natural History

Pidgey in Tokyo

Pidgey is a pokémon that appeared everywhere — except in Tokyo no pokémon ever appeared on the island of Imperial Palace.

Ratata in London

Ratata in London: mostly everywhere, but avoids parks.

Oddish in Vilnius

Oddish in Vilnius had its favorite little park.

Meowth in New York

In New York, Meowth had a very beautiful distribution.

Psyduck in London

In most cities Psyduck could be found around water. In London it was also all over Battersea Park.

Slowpoke in London

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

Magnemite in New York: I'm sure there's some kind of logic, but I can't decipher it.

Magikarp in New York

Magikarp makes all the coasts glow in all the cities.

Magmar in Tokyo

Like Pikachu, Magmar also picked a “favorite park” in Tokyo.

Tech Stack

  • pgoapi
  • PokemonGo-Map
  • Stamen Toner map