Beware of fake beaches (Pokémon Go)

For info:

That will probably get to us eventually (it’s complicated - it depends on what you and other reporters choose as the report reason). An email to is quicker.

Edit: And another one:

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Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day. It might be pure chance. I think what they might be doing is just finding any water in OSM and adding nodes alongside (and sometimes inside) it tagged natural=beach. They might even be intentionally making some good edits to make our work more difficult (it means that we have to review each change to see if it might be valid).

Does anyone know what other features are of interest to Pokemon players? I have noticed some fake parks being added (and dog parks changed to parks).

Thanks Andy! It is appreciated.

All edits that looked fake from Jorge4448567491 have been reverted.

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You’re right that some people have been trying to hide them, but most aren’t that savvy - they just add a random beach and hope nobody notices.

in the past I believe parks have been the primary interest of players, but I am not familiar with how the game uses the data so there might be others.

Yes, mostly parks, and now natural=beach and natural=coastline.
The beach was already a Pikmin Bloom “biome” (another Niantic game), here a list of some tags used by that app: link.

This Fandom wiki has a list for Pokémon Go as well (I don’t know how reliable it is, also not updated since 2019): link

This OpenStreetMap US’ talk could also be of interest: Parks, Spawns, Nests & Pikachu: OpenStreetMap & Pokemon GO players


I know also about case where someone was adding fake schools or enlarging existing ones as it was apparently blocking pokemons.

As I understand they were sabotaging OSM but goal was to sabotage players in that game.

(Note: not sure is school area having any effect but they apparently believed it)

They were especially tricky as they were enthusiastic in removing fake parks added by other players.


Results of the “TOP 15” from the past week for changesets that created elements in OSM with the ‘natural=beach’ tag:

OSM username Mapping days Blocks count Created natural=beach
JorgeLeo33 53 1 181
jorge_leo33 6 1 179
Jorge4448567491 2 1 75
Francisco javier A R 55 0 46
SuperSonic 25 0 42
いjhdいjhd 21 0 32
burboon89 1 0 17
Rogrogg 2 0 15
Dmitryyy 10 0 12
RaptorHunter 92 0 11
toadlover 6 0 11
Ickinho 15 0 10
Bérangère444 69 0 10
xERRORx 25 0 8
ちゅん先生 2 0 8

Hope that it helps you.


In Nederland spawns and gyms are suppressed near schools and some other places, I think also near railways, motorways and important traffic areas. Where pedestrians would cause major safety risks.

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Just out of curiousty, seeking out what this Niantic is to OSM, see this goes back a long time such as discussed here
Has Niantic been addressed at all on this ‘fake’ mapping by their gamers in essence being caused by them?

PS I’d not ever spend time seeking out what’s ‘useful’ within these edits. Be gone.

There’s some extra commentary on that on Mastodon here (the views of everyone in that thread are their own).

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Another one obi1976 has been reported to because of randomly creating beaches in the SE of Munich, Germany

Edit: fix typo
0-hour blocked in

I’m guessing that people here either already have or shortly will revert what doesn’t look sensible.

done for the 12 edits of obi1976


Here is another one. Has been reported to DWG.

That one got blocked here (and changed their name).

See also here on Hacker News - expect a mixture of relevant and “completely misunderstanding what is going on but wanting to share their valuable opinion nonetheless” replies there :slight_smile: .


Another vandal here (reverted, reported).

To be fair, OSM received a massive contribution when Pokemon Go players found out that OSM was being used for the game map and monster spawn types.

I myself started contributing to OSM because of Pokemon Go.

As long as they are making legitimate contributions, this is a good thing, but we definitely need to keep an eye out for users abusing the map.

We’ll have occasional spikes in activity that correspond to Pokemon Go updates, but once these users realize that Niantic only updates their maps every year or so, they start to lose interest. Consequently, any vandalism from those trying to game the system will also dwindle.


You’re taliking of edits i guess

Yes, the research paper I linked goes into specifics for just the country of South Korea:

In South Korea, the #contributors and #edits to OSM per day both increased more than 10-fold immediately following the launch of Pokémon GO (Figure 1). In the two weeks prior to the game’s release, the average #contributors was 15 and the average #edits was 4,028. In comparison, in the week following release, the average #contributors (584) was 40-times higher and the average #edits (70,345) was 17-times higher. However, both #contributors and #edits returned to more typical levels after around 1½ months. One explanation for this drop-off is that the new contributors had finished mapping the locations where they frequently played the game.

A similar spike in the number of contributors and edits can be observed at a worldwide scale.
I can guarantee you that at least a decent number of them stuck around to continue adding on to the map even years later.