How the Pokemon GO tracking system works via Forbes


I am a sinner.
Sep 11, 2013
More at link.

8. I don’t know the exact distances represented by the footprints, but usually, Pokémon I tracked were no more than a city block or two away, even if they first appeared low on the grid. If you take too long however, things can change, as Pokémon move. It’s why even if you stand still, you will get a rotating stock of what’s near you. With that said, I don’t think something you’re actively hunting can disappear or outrun you, unless there’s some sort of technical glitch. I have had two and one-print nearbys just disappear completely on me, but they usually come back if I just press on a little bit further.

Sometimes maybe you’ll just lose something, and won’t know why. But once I figured out the above system, that almost never happened to me. If you are rolling around in a group, the Pokémon will spawn multiple copies for each of you, but they may not be in the exact same spot, so don’t freak out. I’ve seen a difference of about a half block or more, so just keep looking around a bit.​