PokéStop Scanning is an opt-in feature that lets qualified Pokémon GO Trainers record a stream of images of PokéStops or Gyms and provide related information to Niantic, including the time and location of the recording, how your phone moved while you were recording, and some general characteristics of your device. 

 
Information gathered during PokéStop Scanning allows Niantic to generate accurate, dynamic 3-D maps of real-world objects, improving our understanding of how virtual objects persist, how they’re grounded in specific locations and where they are in relation to each other. Basically, devices will better understand what they are looking at in order to augment reality in real-time and allow Niantic to explore and deliver new types of AR experiences, which require an accurate and up-to-date 3-D map of the world.

Supported Devices

  • iOS: PokéStop Scanning is available on iPhone 6s and newer devices running iOS 11+.
  • Android: PokéStop Scanning is available on devices running Android 7.0+ and can support Google Play Services for AR. Supported devices must install Google Play Services for AR from the Google Play Store. A list of supported devices can be found here.
 

Eligibility

This feature is currently only available for Trainers playing with supported devices who’ve reached level 20. PokéStop Scanning is also unavailable for Trainers with child accounts. PokéStop Scanning option won’t be selectable in your app if you are ineligible to use the feature.
 

To scan a PokéStop:

  1. Go the PokéStop or Gym’s details page and tap the three dots in the upper right.
  2. Tap SCAN POKESTOP.
  3. Opt into the feature via the on-screen prompts if it’s your first time recording a scan.
  4. Tap the record button to start scanning. Keep the object within the frame, and slowly walk around the object if possible.
  5. Tap Upload Later or Upload Now to upload your PokéStop Scan.
 
Any PokéStop Scans you choose to send Niantic are automatically anonymized once uploaded to our secure servers, which includes extra privacy measures like blurring potentially recognizable objects like faces or license plates. Niantic doesn’t collect or store any personal data in connection with this information, and it is not tied to specific player accounts. For more information, please read our privacy policy.
 

What we’re looking for in a PokéStop Scan:

  • Ideal scanning candidates are those which you can safely walk completely around, like statues and sculptures.
  • A 20-30-second scan that keeps the object in the center of the frame and is visible from top to bottom within the frame. 
  • Maintain a consistent movement speed and distance between you and the object.
  • If possible, walk a full 360 degrees around the object. If walking all the way around the object isn’t possible, 180 degrees will still work.
  • Scans taken in various environmental conditions (lighting at various times of day, different types of weather, etc.).

While recording, prompts may appear on screen if issues with the quality of your scan are detected (i.e. light is insufficient, movement is too slow).

A few things to avoid, if possible:
  • Standing stationary and making a circular hand motion is not as useful as PokéStop Scans made while walking 10 or more steps from your starting position. 
  • PokéStop Scans in extreme darkness may not include enough usable information.
  • Blurry PokéStop Scans. This can sometimes be improved by wiping the lens, tapping the PokéStop on-screen before scanning, or moving more slowly.
  • Additionally, while it’s better to upload PokéStop Scans without obstructions or people between the you and the PokéStop, we understand that this is sometimes unavoidable. We automatically check every PokéStop Scan to blur faces, license plates, and other identifying information.

Here are some guidelines on how to scan different types of PokéStops to provide the most useful information to our team:
  • Please stay aware of your surroundings. Remember to watch where you’re moving.  You can look away from the screen because keeping the PokéStop within the frame doesn’t need to be perfect, and you can submit multiple Scans of that PokéStop.
  • The PokéStop should be the main focus of scans, but it’s also helpful to have some of the surrounding area included, especially for smaller PokéStop. Specifically:
    • Point your camera towards the PokéStop while moving around it or near it. Consider moving in an orbit around the PokéStop. The orbit can be circular, navigating around the accessible surfaces of the PokéStop, or it can be more broad, where you approach the PokéStop from a distance and scan it as you approach. 
    • Multiple PokéStop Scans of the same PokéStop help us build better AR maps, especially when taken from different viewpoints, at different times of day, and with different lighting conditions. More PokéStop Scanning coverage correlates with more places and times of day that AR features can work robustly.
    • PokéStop Scans of longer durations are typically easier to combine than many short PokéStop Scans.
    • Move along public paths or walkways near the PokéStop. While the main focus of the PokéStop Scan should be the PokéStop itself, please stay on public paths or walkways near the PokéStop or surrounding area.
  • Flat PokéStops (murals; memorial plaques; signage; etc.): Face the PokéStop and walk laterally from one side to the other. If the PokéStop itself is small, like a memorial plaque on a bench, please scan the entire bench versus the memorial plaque only.
  • Medium-sized PokéStops (statues; playground structures; informational signs; etc.): Walk 360 degrees around the PokéStop, if possible.
  • Large PokéStops (historical building; athletic fields; etc.): While staying within range of the PokéStop, move laterally across the faces of the structure or building. Before starting your next PokéStop Scan of the same large PokéStop, take two steps back to overlap your new PokéStop Scan with your previous one. If the PokéStop is a park or athletic field, try to focus on free-standing elements that are most representative of that PokéStop. If you are able to continue PokéStop Scanning further, you can connect free-standing elements by getting two or more of them filmed in the same PokéStop Scan.
For your safety, always be aware of your surroundings when you are scanning.
 

PokéStop Scanning FAQs

Are scans of PokéStops or Gyms used to determine if they are still valid?
No, Niantic does not use AR scans to determine whether a PokéStop or Gym should be removed.

What do I get for contributing?
Some PokéStops and Gyms have an “AR Mapping” tag, which indicates that you’ll receive an AR Mapping Field Research task when you spin their Photo Discs. You can receive in-game rewards for completing these tasks. Your contributions also help Niantic deliver new types of AR experiences in the future.
 
Do I have to capture the entire object in the frame? What if the object is too big (for example, the tower of a building)?
If the object is too big or too far away to capture with a single scan, try scanning the object with multiple scans, keeping some good overlap between each scan.
 
Can I scan the same object multiple times?
Yes. Try taking videos at different times of the day or in different weather conditions. 
 
What if I get people/cars in my recording?
Faces and license plates will be obscured, but try to capture the object without obstructions if it’s possible to do so. 
 
How do I upload videos later if I don’t want to use my cellular data?
Tap the “Upload Later” button and go to your Settings menu to upload when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. 
 
What happens when I submit a PokéStop Scan? Are PokéStop Scans accepted and rejected by reviewers, similar to PokéStop nominations?
PokéStop Scans aren’t reviewed by players in the same way PokéStop nominations are. Instead, they are processed automatically on Niantic’s secure servers.