You Can No Longer Play Pokémon Go On This Island

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Don't expect to see pocket monsters to appear in the wild in this island.
Don't expect to see pocket monsters to appear in the wild in this island. Niantic

The Greek island of Salamis is home to at least 40,000 people and can be found 10 miles off the coast of Athens. Despite its population, Salamis still houses a dedicated community of Pokémon Go players. Unfortunately, this might no longer be the case now since all pocket monsters have reportedly vanished.

For those who do not know, Niantic’s popular mobile game is pretty much like many other real-world AR games. It basically runs on map data courtesy of Open Street Maps (OSM), which is a widely-used service simply because it is open source. And much like Wikipedia, it can be edited.

Due to its nature, inaccuracies cannot be easily prevented and they tend to happen from time to time. Of course, on the OSM itself, this is not necessarily a significant issue since editors can easily notice all changes and eliminate any errors. Despite the fact that the service’s map data is updated on a regular basis, games that tend to siphon data right from it are not as thorough as anyone might have imagined.

In the case of Pokémon Go, it utilizes map data that was imported a few months ago. Now, there is real advantage to this, as it makes it harder to cheat by removing the ability to modify the OSM and see immediate changes. But as far as the disadvantage is concerned, areas flagged on the map incorrectly are not updated and fixed right away when there are changes or errors.

Map data points to parks, roads, and other places, all of which are layered accordingly. Areas can then be tagged with a code in order for various services that use OSM data to then utilize their own information.

Unfortunately, this process became a dagger to the heart of the island of Salamis. The island is reportedly flagged with the "natural=bay" tag. In Pokémon Go, the tag informs Niantic’s services that Pokémon do not spawn here, since it suggests that the entire area is submerged underwater. Although OSM has been successful in removing the tag, the map’s current version has yet to be imported to the game.

Salamis players have gone to the game's global community to raise this concern. On The Silph Road subreddit, a thread about the current issue on the island has already amassed huge attention. According to the community, there are at least two possible solutions to combat this issue. First, Niantic can just start pulling in new OSM map data in order to correct the issue once and for all. If not, a change to how the game’s system handles and recognizes the "natural=bay" tag must be performed. Either way, fans are confident that these will finally allow Pokémon to return to the island.

Pokémon Go
A Flawed But Magnificent Experience
Pokémon Go has swept the country but is the mobile game worth an install? Despite its flaws, Pokémon Go really delivers the Pokemon-capture experience.
  • As Close To Living Pokémon Fantasy As It Gets
  • Active And Engaging Experience
  • Lots Of Mon And Events
  • Battles Aren't What Fans Expect
  • Very Grindy
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