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Pokemon GO: Places to Scout in Singapore

Source: Pokemon GO
Source: Pokemon GO

Update 6/8/2016: Pokemon GO is finally here in Singapore! And yes, it seems that most of the places in Ingress are also Pokemon stops.

As the original article was written before Pokemon Go was released, you may find the main contents irrelevant. So here’s what you need to know:

Based on my personal experience at Bishan Park, Serangoon, Botanic Gardens and VivoCity, you should check out VivoCity if you want the most fertile catches–you can find hoardes of Magikarps (you need a hundred of these to evolve a Gyarados), a number of Tentacools (and Tentacruels as well), Slowpokes, Horseas, Psyducks (and the occassional Golduck), Zubat (and the occassional Golbat), Meowths and many more. Not to mention, there are more than seven Pokestops at the rooftop of VivoCity alone, in very close proximity to each other. On National Day, most of these stops had lures, making it very fertile land indeed.

After what seems to be an interminable wait, rumour has it that Pokemon GO is all set to be rolled out in Southeast Asia within the next couple of days. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you may want to start scouting for possible PokeStops and Gyms scattered across Singapore. This is something you can do legally even before the game’s released.

Game Mechanics

Before we explain how, let’s first understand what PokeStops and Gyms are, for the benefit of those not in the know.

PokeStops and Gyms form an essential part of Pokemon GO’s gameplay. PokeStops are where you stop by to farm Pokeballs, eggs, and potions, which you’ll invariably need to catch or hatch Pokemon if you don’t want to purchase in-game money.

Gyms, meanwhile, are where players fight for turf. You can choose to become a part of three teams–Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) or Valour (Red). Teams have to battle Pokemon (computer-controlled, unfortunately; there’s no PvP element as yet) to wrestle for control over the gym. Once you have control, your job is to defend the gym from the opposing teams.

The actual game mechanics are more complex than this, which we’ll leave it to you to figure out on your own. In the meantime, just know that winning or defending gym battles allow you to earn Pokecoins, the in-game currency.

How Are Locations Determined?

Ingress (Source: Google Play)
Ingress
(Source: Google Play)

The locations of PokeStops and Gyms are real-life places and are mapped out way in advance (i.e. the locations are not random in nature). Here’s where it gets interesting: the locations are based off on Niantic (the game developer for Pokemon GO)’s other game, Ingress.

Ingress is another augmented reality game that depends on physical locations in the real world. Locations in Ingress were crowdsourced, with users having to submit photographs of places which would later be approved by Niantic and placed on the map.

Pokemon GO’s trove of PokeStops and Gyms are in turn based upon the Ingress locations. Based on what other users have said, the locations for PokeStops and Gyms are a subset of Ingress locations.

Getting Access

So, if you’re scouting for a list of possible places, the logical thing to do would be to consult Ingress’ list of locations. To do you, you will first need to download the Ingress app from the Google Play or Apple Store and create an account.

Once you have an account set up, simply head over to the Ingress Intel page, and you’ll see the list of Ingress locations worldwide pop up before you.

ingresslocations

Above, you’ll see what the map for Singapore looks like. It seems heavily concentrated towards central and southern Singapore, with the forests of Mandai being an empty zone (a pity, since our soldiers won’t be extra motivated to complete their navigation exercises). The Jalan Bahar to Lim Chu Kang area seems conspiciously empty as well, which may be for the best since we won’t want people crowding in a cemetery in the middle of the night in an attempt to catch Gastlys and Haunters.

Curiously, there are two Pokestops within Pulau Ubin and another one on Pulau Tekong itself, near the ferry terminal. Guard duty just got more interesting, perhaps?

If you’re too lazy to get the Ingress app, some users have already done the dirty work for you and are in the midst of compiling a Pokemon GO map layer on Google Maps. You can find the map here.

Sample Locations

I did a quick hunt around my estate just to get an idea of what things may eventually be considered PokeStops or a gym.

Things as simple as a tree planting commemoration plaque qualifies as an Ingress location. So is a ‘clock tower’ situated near a HDB block opposite me. Playgrounds and churches are fair game, as are basketball courts and fitness corners. Certain schools feature as well. More intriguingly, I saw some community centres and PAP kindergartens on the list as well. Maybe we’ll now see hordes of people camping outside a Meet-the-People session for other reasons than to find help…

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