What are POI Submissions? POI = Point of Interest, in Pokemon Go an accepted POI submission will become a Pokestop, eventually leading to a gym when enough Pokestops come though to the game (more on this later) So for all intents and purposes we are talking about Pokestop submissions when POI is mentioned. Why do I need to plan my POI submissions when trying to create Pokestops or Gyms? When submitting a Point of Interest (POI) on Ingress / Pokemon Go a bit of planning can be required if you wish to have this submission sync though to Pokemon Go as a Pokestop. You could just randomly submit a suitable POI in an area with nothing much else in the game and have it accepted, however if you are trying to build up an area with a existing Pokestops and Gyms then a little bit of planning could benefit you and the local community in the long term, rather than just randomly submitting something and hoping for the best. In some countries it can take months for a POI submission to be reviewed and either accepted or rejected. In the UK this seems to be taking on average 10-14 days at the moment. Once you understand how the system works you can gain quite a bit of control over what becomes a Pokestop and eventually a gym in the area you are trying to build up in Pokemon Go. So how does Pokemon Go decide what becomes a Pokestop in the game? Pokemon uses S2 L14 cells, these are essentially are a system of geographic markers used to map the Earth's surface. Although you can't normally see these on many map apps, we can use third party apps to overlay S2 L14 cells on Google Maps. For example here is a village in the UK called Alton with S2 L14 Cells overlaid: However we now need to also view the S2 L14 cell we are interested in at Level 17. These are S2 L17 cells: The reason we need to see S2 L17 cells is because only one Pokestop can exist in an S2 L17 cell, if anything else is submitted in that cell it will simply be ignored on Pokemon Go (however could still be accepted and used in other games such as Ingress) So how does Pokemon Go decide what becomes a Gym in the game? To create a Gym we need two POI submissions to be approved in the same S2 L14 cell, however in different L17 cells within the S2 L14 cell. If 2x POI's exist in the same L17 cell, only one of these will be in Pokemon Go. For example there may be 6 POIs in a S2 L14 cell in Ingress, however if two share a S2 L17 cell then that’s only 5 Pokemon Go POIs, meaning you still only have one gym. Keep in mind you can however have more than one Gym in a S2 L14 cell. Gym creation rules are as follows: 2x POI in an S2 L14 cell = 1x gym 6x POI in an S2 L14 cell = 2x gyms 20x POI in an S2 L14 cell = 3x gyms So lets look at an example. Below we have 5x POI in one S2 L14 cell, this means in Pokemon Go we have 1x gym and 4x Pokestops. However If another POI submission got approved in this S2 L14 cell then we would have 2x gyms and 4x Pokestops. Something else to keep in mind is if POIs are moved, they do not abide cell rules when moving. This means you can end up with two Pokemon Go POIs in a single S2 L17 cell, both will count for gym POI count. Can I control which Pokestop becomes a gym? Yes, however this depending on the cooperation of other Ingress players. Ingress players can upvote a POI. Currently Pokemon Go players don't have access to the tools required to do this. However you can do this with a Level 1 Ingress account. The POI with the most upvotes in an S2 L14 cell that isn't already a gym, will become the next gym when the next criteria is met in that S2 L14 cell, for example 6x POI to make a second gym. At the sync time each day (approx 9am-9:30am UTC), the POI data gets copied from Ingress. About 10 hours after that, it goes live in Pokemon Go. If your POI submission gets accepted at 8am UTC, it will make the daily sync and will go live in Pokemon Go after about 12 hours. If your POI submission gets accepted at 11am UTC, you’ve missed the daily sync so would need to wait until the next day before it goes live. The sync not only counts for what POI submissions are live, but also their current photo votes. So if it goes live a 10 minutes before the cut-off sync time, that would mean you only have 10 minutes to see the email and vote on the photo if you want it to be the gym. If it needs multiple votes (i.e. multiple people) then it might not be possible to coordinate in such a limited amount of time. So now you hopefully understand why a little planning will easily help you get the desired end result. In the case of your town or city center this is even more relevant as you might find you only have a few empty S2 L17 cells to create a new Pokestop in. Having this knowledge will allow you to identity and prioritise these empty S2 L17 cells. Although you can submit something else in an L17 cell as that will benefit Ingress players, even though it won't Pokemon players. Identifying S2 L14 cells and the empty S2 L17 cells within them using IITC mobile: Using the IITC Mobile app makes it very easy to overlay S2 L14 Cells at Level 17 on various styles of Google Maps. This then allows you to plan out where you need to find a POI to submit, before you actually go out looking for something relevant to submit. IITC Mobile is designed for use with Ingress, another game by Niantic. However a plugin exists to adapt the app to show S2 Cells at L17, perfect when submitting with Pokemon Go in mind. Setting up IITC Mobile for Pokemon Go: 1. First install IITC Mobile on your phone: IITC Mobile on the Google Play Store IITC Mobile on the Apple Store 2. If you don't have an Ingress account, then you will need to also install Ingress Prime on your phone as IITC requires an Ingress account to to download the data it requires to function You don't have to play Ingress though, essentially just go though the introduction until it asks you to walk about (takes a few minutes), you then have an Ingress account that is usable with IITC. Ingress Prime on the Google Play Store Ingress Prime on the Apple Store 3. Now download the PoGo S2 plugin (s2check.user.js) and save it somewhere on your device, such as the download folder, or copy it to your phones internal memory using a PC. Link: Download PoGo S2 plugin (Hint: You can long press over this link on a mobile and select download link, most mobile browsers will save this in the "Downloads" folder on your phones internal memory) 4. Load the IITC mobile app 5. On IITC click the 3 dots in the top right 6. Go to settings from the 3 dots menu 7. Click IITC plugins 8. Click + in the top right hand corner 9. Use your file manager to find where you saved s2check.user.js you downloaded from the link above, clicking on the plugin to add it to IITC Note: Some people have had problem selecting the s2check.user.js file on certain Android devices. If you find this then i'd recommend you download Fx File Explorer from the Play Store. This is a much more useful file manager that should work better with IITC mobile. Once Fx File Explorer is installed you can click the three dots in the top left when browsing for an IITC Mobile plugin, you should then be able to select FX File Choose and select the plugin from your downloads folder without issue: Selecting the plugin to install: 10. Say yes and the plugin will be installed Now the plugin should be installed, this is how to configure it: 11. To set things up after installing click the IITC Mobile text in the top left 12. Click Info on the side menu 13. Press ok on the messages that appear 14. Click PoGo settings in the top right 15. Set the PoGo settings as follows: 1st level of grid to display: 14 (these are our S2 L14 cells) 2nd level of grid to display: 17 (these are the S2 L17 cells within our S2 L14 cells) Check the box “This is PoGo” Press ok Note: In the settings above you can also use the "highlight cells that might get a gym" functionality to show cells that might get a gym. When you mark stops / gyms it will shade out the S2 L17 cells, this is really useful for POI on a border that you can’t tell where they fall. It will also display a number in the centre of the S2 L14 cell showing the number of POIs needed for an additional gym. Here is an example of an S2 L14 cell with two POI's on the boarder, however we can see IITC Mobile has highlighted the S2 L14 cell showing if we can create two more POI inside the cell we should get another Gym: Ingress has its own 20 metre minimum between cells (regardless of S2 cell borders). The highlight cells mode shades this 20 metre boundary around each POI so you can reduce submissions getting rejected due to distance. You can now browse your local area and find out which of your current Pokestops / Gyms exist in a certain S2 L14 cell, then workout which L17 cells you are able to submit a POI in to create another Pokestop, or even a Gym if you can create enough additional Pokestops. It's possible to change the view to Google satellite imagery which I think makes identifying where you are looking so much easier, to do this click the three dots in the top right, then click on Layer Chooser: For the base layer select Google Satellite, keep all the overlay layers enabled so you can see where existing POI's are: I personally find it much easier to use the satellite imagery, however it can be handy to switch between the two: Conclusion: Once you have IITC mobile setup some key points to remember are: Only one Pokestop can exist in an S2 L17 cell 2x POI in an S2 L14 cell = 1x gym 6x POI in an S2 L14 cell = 2x gyms 20x POI in an S2 L14 cell = 3x gyms I learned most of the above from an Ingress player who was good enough to visit my local area and submit my POI suggestions, taking us from one Pokestop to 4 gyms and 8 Pokestops! Very nice for an area which was basically unplayable before that (Thanks again if you ever happen to be reading this!). I figured it was worth sharing what I’d learned as Pokemon Go players should soon have access to Niantic Wayfarer. Hopefully in countries where it's not currently possible to submit POI, we also gain that that ability in the process. Also thank you to /r/TheSilphRoad for the feedback on this post and suggesting improvements.