Iterating on data collection practices for Pokemon Go
As I’m sure you can imagine (especially considering previous viz work I’ve done) the past couple of days have consisted of a lot of Pokemon Go for me.
Me walking around all weekend.
And like any good data nerd, a lot of my long poke-walks have been accompanied by thoughts about how to collect data on it. Apparently, I’m not the only one!
— Sean Miller (@kcmillersean) July 11, 2016
Go. When thinking through what the requirements should be I came up with this list:
- Data should be able to be added via phone, since I will already have it in hand when playing Pokemon Go
- Geolocation is must have. It’d be great if whatever app I use took it down automatically.
- I should be able to customize what data I input.
- Inputting data should be quick enough that doing it after catching every pokemon isn’t such a chore that I skip doing it because I’m lazy.
I chose to go with an app I’ve used before for Quantified Self purposes, Nicholas Felton’s Reporter app for iPhone. The app has some really handy features like automatically geo-tagging reports, as well as adding step, weather, and photo data. You can totally customize what the questions the report asks and what kinds of answers you can give.
Initially, I set up questions to input which pokemon I caught and what their CP was. And, since it was just about time for my lunch break, I figured gong on a little walk and testing out my data collection couldn’t hurt. I’m glad I did because testing out my data collection process in the field helped me iterate on it and figure out what questions mattered.
As I walked, I hit a couple of Pokestops with lure modules on them. I was able to catch quite a few pokemon around them. I realized, that looking at the data, you would see a cluster of catches in this time period and might wonder why there were so many. So, I decided to add a question for if there was a lure module close by. At the same time, I realized that incense would have the similar effect, so I added a question for that, too.
I lure my pokemon like I do my interns, with lots of dranks and hella noms.
I continued my walk and hit another Pokestop where a Slowpoke was hanging out. I caught him and apparently his slowness spread to my phone, because upon catching him, my game froze. I’d estimate that around 40% of the time, the game freezes on me after I catch a pokemon. I’d like to be able to know an accurate percentage for that number. So, I added another question for if it froze or not while catching the pokemon.
“Wait….so did I actually catch that or nah?”
Going out in the real world and testing my data collection process helped me iterate on it and improve it. I was able to catch missing data earlier and it’ll lead to a more accurate dataset. The Reporter app makes it pretty easy to add new questions, so this whole experience really verified that it’s a good tool for the job. Unfortunately, Reporter is only for iOS, so if you have a suggestion for an app Android users could use, I’d love to hear it!
Now go out there and catch em all!