A Basic Guide to Open Street Maps

A Basic Guide to Open Street Maps

Article Written by Rawsushiii

What is OSM and how is it connected to PGO?

OSM is a volunteer generated map source. PGO's in-game map was sourced from Google Maps but is now sourced from OSM. Due to the switch, the map now has discrepancies. Buildings, parks and even nest points have either been removed or added. By knowing how to mark the map, you can utilize PGO to its full potential by gaining more spawns/nests and even triggering new gyms to host future EX Raids.

Please note that Niantic has mentioned that they will be doing updates to get the latest OSM updates but in terms of frequency, it has yet to be announced. 

Before we get into using OSM, let's talk about some crucial points.

How to use OSM

  1. Make an account on Log-in and hit the "Edit" button.
  2. Do the visual Walkthrough when you first log in. It will help you physically see how to use each tool. Otherwise, the steps are below.
  3. When using the Area tool, continuously click and trace the area until you've reached your original start point. A good tip to making your areas more square or circular is to "right click" your finished area and hit the options "Square" or "Circularize".
  4. When using the Line tool, continuously click and trace the line until the line is completed. Double click the last point you made to tag the line.
  5. When using the Point tool, simply click once on the area you'd like to point. Be sure to tag it correctly and specifically!
  6. Save often!!! The more edits you do the longer it takes for your PC and the server to upload your edits!

Do's and Dont's


  • Add missing buildings/parks/roads.
  • Ask the original editors permission to edit their work.
  • Look at more populated cities for tagging reference. (Ex. Los Angeles/New York)
  • Look at the OSM wiki for correct tags.


  • Don't falsely add things that don't exists.
  • Don't make adjustments to any already existing edit without permission.
  • Don't connect any area/building/sidewalk to main roads. Leave some space. (See example)
  • Don't incorrectly tag areas for PGO "benefits". (AKA better spawns)


The Area tool is used to mark buildings and land uses. This tool alone will be the underlying reason for the game to create new spawns/nests for EX Raids and it will be determined by HOW you tag the area.

Table of Contents

(The tags below are for guide purposes only. Do not use these tags within OSM)

(O) = Allows Spawns/Nests
(EX) = Known tag to potentially trigger EX Raids
(X) = No Spawns
(/) = Lower Spawns
(?) = Undetermined
(**) = These are vague tags. Please look at the official wiki for specific tags like Temples, Bars, Cafes, Farmland, Naval Base and etc.

Common list of Building tags:

Note: Generally buildings don't cause spawns but land uses do. See tags below for pokemon spawns and tags to potentially trigger and EX Raid.

  • House
  • Apartment
  • Church (**)
  • School (**)(X)
  • Town Hall
  • Library
  • Hospital (**)
  • Shop (**)
  • Industrial (**)

Common list of Land Use tags

(Natural Land Use)

  • Park (**)(O)(EX)
  • Grass (O)(EX)
  • Grassland (**)(O)(EX)
  • Pond (**)(O)
  • Lake (O)
  • Basin (O)
  • Forest (**)(O)
  • Meadow (O)(EX)
  • Scrub (O)(EX)
  • Heath (O)
  • Greenfield (O)(EX)

(Man-made Land Use)

  • Residential Are (/)
  • Retail Area (O)(EX Sponsored)
  • Commercial Area (O)
  • School Grounds (X)
  • Pool (O)
  • Garden (O)(EX)
  • Playground (O)(EX)
  • Recreation Ground (O)(EX)
  • Gold Course (O)(EX)
  • Farmyard (O)(EX)
  • Car Parking (O)
  • Church (**)(O)
  • Cemetery (**)(O)
  • Industrial (?)
  • Military (**)(X)
  • Aeroway (AKA: Airport) (O)

(Sport Fields)

  • Baseball Diamond (O)
  • Soccer Field (O)
  • American Football Field (O)
  • Basketball Court (O)
  • Tennis Court (O)

One more note: Be detailed with your tagging, if applicable. At the very least, put a name to the building or area you've made. There are exceptions to this rule. EX. Do not name houses. Only put a house number is available.


The Line tool is used to mark roads, sidewalks, trails and more

Common list of Line tags:

  • Residential Road
  • Tertiary Road
  • Motorway (Highway)
  • Unclassified
  • Sidewalk
  • Crosswalk
  • Footpath

Important Notes:

  • When making a new line, do NOT connect any lines to any other Area or Line. This makes editing it extremely difficult. See example above.
  • Lines do not have to connect. Some do have to connect. Make sure to double click your last mark you made to complete your edit.
  • Not all tags are listed. Please visit the official OSM Wiki for more detailed tags.


The Point tool is used to mark landmarks, shops and more.

Common list of Point tags:

  • Store
  • Restaurant
  • Post Office
  • Town Hall
  • Police
  • Library
  • Bank
  • Hospital
  • Theatre
  • Historic

Note: First tag your point with a generic tag like "store". Then you can add a secondary tag like "pet" for pet store. Once all the tags are added, add the name of the shop.

Parting Words

Don't abuse this free system. Use it wisely and correctly. Anyone can see your edits after you've save them and if an admin or a volunteer see you incorrectly tag something for the same of PGO, it'll make our community look bad and of course they will remove your edits. We want to respect the guidelines OSM has set forth that way we can enjoy a free and opened sourced map. Happy mapping, trainers!