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In this answer I read the following:

As a side note, if you stay in the same area for a while, the ground appears to slowly turn grey and patchy. From my observations, these are 'dry areas'. They show up if you are in the area for a long time, and Pokemon generally do not spawn when you are standing on them.

Is there any more information about these 'dry areas'? I've been using the occasional incense at home when I want to catch Pokemon at night, and now that I've read about this I can say that area is beginning to look browner than the surrounding area. Is this making it harder for me to catch Pokemon around my apartment building? And if so, how pronounced is this effect and how long does it last?

  • I don't think so. I've never heard of this or seen this. I often go to an area where there are constatnly dozens of pokemon go players and 6 lures being used constantly and keep finding tonnes of pokemon. As a side note, since you're using incense, it wouldn't even matter since incense spawns a pokemon every 5 minutes when standing still. – Aequitas Jul 20 '16 at 15:02
  • @Aequitas well, I'm going to run out of incense eventually, so I just want to make sure that when that happens I can still walk around the block and find some pokemon, or if I'm causing some sort of permanent damage. And I'm wondering if maybe it's a personal effect, or if it doesn't happen near pokestops. Like I said, the ground does look brown around my apartment building. – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 20 '16 at 15:07
  • Could you take a screenshot of the area now and in a couple of days, it'd be nice to see. I doubt it's a personal thing since everyone can see the same pokemon except for incense pokemon. That's why this wuoldn't make sense. So I'd guess it's a no, but I don't really know so hopefully someone else can say. – Aequitas Jul 20 '16 at 15:11
  • @Aequitas I can take a screenshot when I get home, but that's not going to be for another 6 or so hours – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 20 '16 at 15:12
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The Silph Road has done quite a bit of research into spawning mechanisms and their findings have been corroborated by much of the community. It isn't necessarily guaranteed to be 100% accurate but the evidence supporting it is overwhelming. In either case, all their work is reproducible and peer-reviewed so it's largely considered to be the most accurate non-official information available.

From what I understand of their findings, the world map is littered with "spawn points" (marked by the rustling grass animations), which spawn one pokemon at regular intervals. Most spawn points trigger once per hour but I've heard of some spawning as often as every half hour (although it is possible that the location simply has two spawn points very close together). A pokemon spawned in this way lasts for 15 minutes before despawning and will be available to any player who is in range during that time. Every spawn location has different timings so one might trigger at :02 past the hour and another might trigger at :29.

I have not yet seen any evidence to suggest that these points may cease spawning at any time for any reason. We do know that they are tied to locations that historically have increased mobile data usage, which is why there are tons in the downtowns of larger cities but very few, if any, out in the country.

Assuming this is all correct, it is theoretically possible to momentarily deplete an area of pokemon by catching everything that is currently spawned but that will only affect you and will only last until the next spawn point triggers.

If I were to speculate, I would say that the "dry area" effect is a description of the 45 minutes per hour that there are no pokemon at a given spawn point. If your area only has one or two spawn points within radar range (especially if they all trigger at roughly the same time), the effect would be highly visible, which is likely what that other user was seeing. I don't know whether the map turning grey is related to this but I would suspect it isn't. Instead, I would chalk that up to a graphical glitch but I don't know that for certain.

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