Lessons Learned from building a Pokemon Go Raid Tracker


My initial solution

  • People were already tracking the gyms they raided at in spreadsheets
  • The players I interacted with would unless they were very dedicated only go to raids within 3km of their home or work
  • Each player gets a free raid pass a day
Players were using spreadsheets to manage where they raided

Fleshing out my idea

  • Hardcore players (like understanding their performance, hate underperforming casual players)
  • Casual players (like tools that give them advantages so can perform at similar level to hardcore players, hate investing time)
  • Discover the app (direct, Facebook, Discord)
  • Sign up / login
  • Find gym that they want to log raid at
  • Log raid
  • Check / be reminded of progress
  • Add live raid data to the app
  • Allow players to add meta data to the raids
  • Show players their raiding history and allow them to share infographics
  • Give players an interactive tool to explore the raids that happened in Leeds so they can spot trends
  • Add functionality to allow players to organise raiding parties (there’s a big issue with players arriving to find everyones already completed the raid)
  • Allow players to track additional goals (raids count towards completing a number of goals such as players increasing level, players getting a badge for number of raids completed and levelling up the badge associated with the gym)

Validating my idea

Feedback from the mock up posted to Facebook
Initial Story map broken into 3 releases

Developing the MVP

Great feedback from a user

Getting live raid data

Adding raids to the tracker

  • Adding a banner to the gym to show there was a raid active
  • Creating a new list on the gym page for active raids
  • Showing the name of the Pokemon in the data entry screen where the user added the data for the raid
Feedback after the implementation of raids

Getting live raid data back

Expanding to cover all of Leeds

There’s just a few gyms in Leeds

Detecting gyms in parks

  • Get all the level 12 S2 cells for Leeds
  • Query Open Street Map for features using the S2 cell as the bounding box
  • Convert the data from OSM to GeoJSON
  • Using the GeoJSON for the features, get a list of gyms that overlap with the features from OSM
Output of getting the park features for all S2 cells in Leeds

Shutting down the tracker

  • The initial idea while meeting the vague specification at the time wasn’t applicable anymore
  • Improvements on the maps people used meant there was no need to go to the tracker unless you cared about tracking your raids
  • Technical issues with the raid data meant that people lost interest as the tracker ‘seemed to no longer work’
  • Other members of the Facebook group had done their own S2 cell analysis before it was implemented into the tracker so it was old news by the time it was added
  • It took too long to expand the tracker to support all of Leeds instead of the city centre

What building the tracker taught me

  • Building solutions to problems that haven’t been clearly defined will very likely lead you to focusing on the wrong area
  • Focusing on the wrong area will make it harder to continue to deliver value to users when they realise your solution is wrong
  • Users love it when their feedback is taken on board and they can see the influence they had in the development of the product
  • Depending on 3rd party data sources requires communication from both parties, so be prepared to put in a lot of effort to work around changes made with no communication
  • I discovered that I’m happier during the ideation, validation and MVP stages of a project than later on when the project is established and the changes are smaller




Currently building reciprocal.dev. Interested in building shared understanding, Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.

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Colin Wren

Colin Wren

Currently building reciprocal.dev. Interested in building shared understanding, Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.

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