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'Pokémon Go' gets AR Mapping tasks to enable more realistic effects

Niantic will use the data to make Pokémon interact with real-world objects.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go players may see a new tag marking some PokéStops next time they check the app. Niantic has officially launched AR Mapping tasks for level 20 Trainers and up, almost five months after the company announced that it’s launching the feature. When they spin a PokéStop marked with the “AR Mapping” tag, they’ll get a Field Research task that will require them to open the AR scanning screen and to explore the area.

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Niantic first announced that it’s working on a PokéStop Scan feature back in May in an effort to improve Pokémon Go’s augmented reality effects. By getting players to scan locations, the developer will get what it needs to be able to create 3D maps of PokéStops. They can then use that data to make critters interact with real—world objects, so they can hide behind a tree trunk instead of just float in front of it. Niantic started testing the better AR effects feature called “Reality Blending” back in May, as well, though it’s limited to users with certain newer Android phones.

The developer says good scans last 20 to 30 seconds and keep the PokéStop in the center of the frame. It’s also encouraging users to walk a full 360 degrees around the location. Niantic Kids accounts won’t have access to the feature yet, even for level 20 Trainers — that’s most likely a good thing, since there’s still a pandemic happening — but parents will get the option to toggle it on in the future.