What is PokeFinder - for Pokemon GO, and should you care?

Posted by Nick Tylwalk on July 15th, 2016
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

It was probably inevitable that with the runaway success of Pokemon GO, a number of unofficial apps intended to help players with the game would spring up in the App Store. That is indeed what's taking place, and one of them PokeFinder - for Pokemon GO, has elbowed its way into the top 10 on the U.S. app charts.

Outside of the general caution one should have when dealing with apps that are obviously not official companion apps, we decided to dive into PokeFinder to find out what it is and whether you should consider downloading it to aid you in your trainer adventures.

On the plus side, PokeFinder is completely free, unlike other unofficial apps intended as Pokemon GO aids. When you initially fire it up, the only thing you have to do is allow the app to have access to your location services, which is pretty much par for the course for anything involving hunting Pokemon at the moment.

What you'll see then is a map of your current location, with a blue dot indicating exactly where you are right that second. It's not exactly clear if there's a significance to the radius of the shaded circle that extends out from there, but it's obvious that it means to signify your general vicinity. In my case, it's the entire town block my house is in, give or take.

If there are Pokemon spotted nearby, you'll see pictures of them pop up within that circle. You can also report Pokemon using the '+' symbol at the bottom of the screen. Simply tap it, type in the name, and voila. Not only will you be able to see a picture of it (after you tap 'Refresh' at the top of the screen), but other people using PokeFinder nearby will see it too.

You can zoom in or out with the standard iPhone gestures and move around by sliding the map in any direction. It looks fairly accurate -- if you tap the 'Legal' link in the bottom-left, you'll be taken to a web page that lists the lengthy number of sources that provide the app's map data -- so the roads should match up almost exactly with the map in Pokemon GO.

There are two issues with PokeFinder that come to mind right away. The first is that the information is crowdsourced, meaning it's only as useful as the number of people using it and reporting Pokemon sightings in your area. It's also unclear what "recent" means, and if a concentration nearby really means anything (unless a Lure Module is being used, but then you'd be able to see that within Pokemon GO itself).

Also, what would truly be helpful is for PokeStop and Gym locations to show up on the same map. Alas, you'll need a different app for that, and there doesn't seem to be a free one on the App Store at the moment to fill that role.

To sum up, while PokeFinder could prove useful, it's all going to depend on whether or not other gamers around you do too. If there's a critical mass of users in your area, it might be able to let you know if it's worth your while to go out hunting in a particular nearby region, and the only way to know if it's caught on is to download it and see.

Posted in: News
Tagged With: Iphone, Apps, IPad, Pokémon GO, PokeFinder
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