Once you've decided to take the plunge into Pokemon Go, you will very quickly be presented with a surprising problem: Pokemon Go Tracking. One of the most basic parts of the game - finding Pokemon is almost completely unexplained by the game itself. Trainers are left with very few clues about where Pokemon are likely to be found, and after recent updates the few hints that Niantec gave from within the game are almost completely eliminated. Even though we can hope that they are working on something better it seems that at best they have no plans to explain the basics of where Pokemon will and will not appear, or how to find the rarest Pokemon. Fear not, we've got a few Pokemon Go tracking tips to get you started below!
Pokemon Spawning Locations
Pokemon only spawn at certain exact locations. If you are not near one of these locations, you can literally run a marathon and never see a single Pokemon. If your neighborhood is new, or in a remote area, it is possible that you do not have a single Pokemon spawn near you. This is the cruel joke of Niantec's rubbish tracking system and its crack down on fan map sites. Pokemon Go isn't really a game about purely walking around - it is a game about walking around specific invisible locations. Get to know these locations for a certain area and you'll be able to almost immediately pounce on any Pokemon as they spawn - rather than wandering aimlessly for hours with no sightings. Getting some clues from fan made maps to get you started won't hurt either.
How often a Pokemon spawns at a "spawn point" appears to be random. Each spawn point seems to have a random mixture of Pokemon that can potentially spawn at it, likely with some random chance calculation each time a spawn event occurs. Certain Pokemon do seem to spawn more commonly at certain times of day. The location of the spawn point will also have some influence on the types of Pokemon that can spawn there (ie Water Pokemon spawn near water, Grass Pokemon spawn a lot in parks, etc). Once a Pokemon spawns, you'll have anywhere from a few minutes up to somewhere around 15 minutes to find them and catch them, or they'll disappear.
Pro Tip Rare Pokemon and Pokemon spawned by Lured Pokestops seem to have the shortest timers. Keep that in mind and when appropriate up your Razz Berry and Pokeball game to nab mons that are likely about to split.
Lures and Incense
It is possible to increase the spawn rate of Pokemon by using Lure Modules on Pokestops or Incense. Lure Modules benefit all Poke Trainers in the area, whereas Incense is specific to the Poke Trainer who uses it. Lure Modules attract a specific kind of Pokemon depending on the Pokestop they are attached to, but without digging into game data it won't be possible for you to tell which Pokemon type it is. If you see a Pokestop attracting a lot of Pokemon you don't want, don't lure it again. Both Lures and Incense seem to attract about one extra Pokemon every 5 minutes.
Tracking and Teamwork
Once you understand where Pokemon spawn in a given area, it is much easier to track them and catch them. Go back to areas where you have had success in the past, and slow down when you are near Pokemon spawn points to give your mobile device adequate time to scan. The latest tracking update from Niantec seems to move the closest Pokemon up the list (as with older tracking systems), so if you know you are near a spawn point the Pokemon at the top of your list is probably there. If you are working with a group of fellow Pokemon Trainers, all of you can catch the same Pokemon, but you won't all immediately see the Pokemon at the same time. Use this to your advantage and have the first Trainer to see a target Pokemon call them out and direct others to the spawn point.
Hopefully these tips put you on the way to being a master of Pokemon Go Tracking. See anything we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know!