Abbotsford gets its very own Pokemon Go map

Two locals want to make it easier to find Pokestops and gyms

Dylan Riel (left) and Stephen Jones created the Abbotsford Pokemon Go Map.

Dylan Riel (left) and Stephen Jones created the Abbotsford Pokemon Go Map.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and the idiom proved true when two local men needed a better way to find Pokemon Go Pokestops and gyms in Abbotsford.

That’s when they decided to create the Abbotsford Pokemon Go Map – a website with a Google Map overlaid with the important locations for Pokemon Go players.

Dylan Riel and Stephen Jones, like millions of people worldwide, have been playing the augmented reality smartphone game since its Canadian release in June.

Riel, a 32-year-old federal government employee, said the game is highly popular in Abbotsford, with many players found in hot spots such as the University of the Fraser Valley campus, Mill Lake Park and downtown. In order to catch the animated creatures around town and then pit them against an opponent’s Pokemon, one must find both Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms – real-world locations one can find on the in-game map.

“The in-game radar is somewhat limited and doesn’t really cover a large area when you are playing,” said Riel, in an email. “If your intent is to try and battle other players at gyms or stock up on items from the Pokestops, this map will definitely help…”

Riel said both stops and gyms are quite spread out in Abbotsford, which can make it tough to accomplish a lot if a player has limited time to play. The two men spent a couple weekends driving all over Abbotsford, compiling a list of every stop and gym they could find.

Riel and Jones, longtime friends, both work full-time and have families but their childhood memories of Pokemon is what drew them to Pokemon Go.

“It is like a childhood fantasy to be able to go out in the real world and catch Pokemon all over town,” said Riel. “It is a great way to get active and we’ve met a lot of friendly people playing the game. We’ve both reconnected with friends we hadn’t seen in years because we were out playing Pokemon and bumped into these old friends also playing Pokemon.”

Riel said he will play while going for a short walk or can plan an entire afternoon around catching and battling the creatures.

And now Riel has passed on his passion to the next generation of Pokemon trainer.

“I introduced my son Mason to the game and he’s become hooked himself: watching the classic cartoons from the ’90s [and] drawing pictures of Pokemon – he even has his own account that he uses as well.”