As far as I can tell, XM seems to be almost randomly placed, except for certain places which have an unusually high concentration: For example, our town recently opened a Five Guys Burgers and Fries (which was a relatively large local event). In a town with approximately four or five "dots" every quarter-mile, the road in front of Five Guys has literally hundreds of "dots".

Conversely, a nearby cemetery is also covered in XM, and has not been included in any recent news or significant traffic.

I'd like to know what the factors are for generating XM so I can plan out my routes to cross nearby concentrations. Portals obviously generate XM, but what other factors go into it?

8 Answers 8


XM is generated:

  1. Always around portals
  2. Conspiracy theory - I believe Niantic labs is using one of the google location based services (maybe mobile maps or something more fun like g+ posts/connections) to estimate the traffic and put more XM there where people go (not only go but spend a lot of time). What I noticed:

    • Busier train and bus stations generate more XM
    • More XM is generated close to crossings (where people have to stay and wait for the green light)
    • Almost no XM is generated along the roads (which have an intensive traffic and drivers are often using phone navigation etc)
    • Somehow there is relatively few XM in public parks (at least in Germany)
    • Almost no XM along the train rails (looks like XM is generated only on slow moving/standing people)

Notes about XM:

  • One unit of XM is represented by 3 white dots which are moving around the center of XM unit
  • In order to suck in an XM unit a player must have an invisible XM unit center inside his action range
  • XM units seem to have different energy potentials ranging from 25 to 55
  • Yesterday I observed a train station platform of a middle size town, not so much traffic but enough (rush hour maybe 100-200 people standing there), XM was spread over platform unequally and was concentrated close to the underground entrance to the platform (where most of travelers stand and all of them go through)
  • 6
    I think I support your idea that Niantic Labs is using services to determine placement: I've now seen two locations with huge piles of XM surrounding them. Both have had significant web traffic (G+ posts, website articles, pictures) and have an address or location tag attached.
    – wersimmon
    Dec 17, 2012 at 16:48
  • 2
    I also notice that it is linked to specific locations i.e. EVERY Verizon store is full of XM but no Sprint stores have any. Jan 18, 2013 at 4:54
  • I think Niantic is not using just google location based services (G+ checkins / geotagged posts) but also aggregating from other location based services with public feeds; eg: geotagged public tweets and foursquare checkins publicly tweeted.
    – sabre23t
    Aug 7, 2013 at 0:12
  • I've been watching my own house, when I started playing my neighboorhood never had xm, but now there is always a few XM floating around one of the corners of my house. I suspect this is because I frequently log into Ingress there.
    – ChargerIIC
    Sep 16, 2014 at 14:12
  • It's actually really funny to monitor the long drive between Dallas & Amarillo. There's virtually no XM for miles along the highway, then a veritable smorgasbord at the lone gas station almost exactly mid-way. Also, the Dairy Queens almost always have the most XM within a given small town.
    – matthias
    Aug 25, 2015 at 6:44

According to some investigations :

The general summary of the story so far is that during the Higgs-Boson experiments, a new energy form was uncovered, which researchers named Exotic Matter, referred to as XM in the game. XM was different in the fact that not only was it everywhere in the world, it seemed to have a sort of intelligence behind it, causing it to gather in more densely populated areas and even seems to affect the thought processes of those nearby. Further research through the Niantic Project revealed that there is some sort of being controlling the XM, a creature known as The Shaper, but not much else has been uncovered about this being.

There is obviously a link between population density and XM, but I can't find exactly what it is.

What I have observed in my town :

  • XM can be found around portals (probably where you can find the most)
  • XM can be found in front of shopping centers
  • XM can be found at bus stops
  • XM can be found in pedestrian street
  • XM presence is mostly correlated to WiFi spots (probably detected by Google cars)

But I also find XM (less) in other places :

  • XM found along a road (~50 XM)
  • XM along a railway track (not near a railway station) (~50XM)
  • XM found near some "normal" houses (~50XM)


Whatever the rule was, the XM locations are now fixed. Since I started to play Ingress, XM never moved. Everyday I'm sure to find XM where I found some the day before.

EDIT (25/02/2013) : Following the arrival of new portals last friday, new XM locations were added too.

(I'm curious to know if XM can be found in front of Apple Store....)


In addition to random dottings and clusters around portals, a large share is determined by crowdsourcing GPS locations of android phones. This is the same data set that Google Traffic uses.

You can often see evidence for this in how XM clusters around bus stops, but my favourite illustration of it is from this portal on a frequently visited mountain top:

enter image description here

As evidenced by the screenshot, Ingress does not draw a path on its map, hence Google Maps do not have information about paths in this area. But still, three trails of XM leads up to the mountain-top portal, overlapping with three real-world footpaths. To double-check, I verified that the trails do not correspond exactly to the hiking trails in OpenStreetmap either, leaving GPS locations as the only credible source. And yes, the path to the left was the most frequently used path on the day I visited.


It is definitely related to cell phone locations. Driving down a main road near me, there were several notable concentrations. Many were located around cell carrier stores (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) or technology stores (Best Buy, PC Richards, etc.). I thought it especially telling how little was around the Sprint store.

  • I've seen this stated twice... What is it about Sprint that would make it not show?
    – KOVIKO
    Apr 25, 2014 at 4:14
  • Could be that they only get data from some carriers, and sprint doesn't give it to them.
    – Vynce
    Jul 22, 2015 at 22:48

My hypothesis:

Other than portals, more XM generated where there are more location based checkins. These seems to be aggregated from various services:

  1. G+ Checkins / posts with locations
  2. Twitter geo located public tweets
  3. Foursquare Checkins / public tweeted
  4. Others too, maybe

Circumstantial evidence:

  1. https://foursquare.com/infographics/500million
  2. http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2013/03/21/this-visualization-of-foursquare-check-ins-shows-the-mesmerizing-pace-of-life-in-nyc-and-tokyo/
  3. http://www.tnooz.com/2013/01/22/social-media-2/check-this-the-world-according-to-foursquare-interactive/
  4. https://blog.twitter.com/2013/geography-tweets-3

I am pretty sure too, that the criteria for XM generation mostly is where GPS is being used - and this is basically where cars are.

I have looked in my area where big parking places are (outside the city, for instance a VW reseller, or a second-hand markt, just using a +/- abandoned area) but also private parking places.

The more cars there are, the more XM. Also where cars are usually waiting, like traffic lights or so, there is more XM.

Of course, if others found out, that pedestrian areas have a lot of XM, it shows, that other criteria are also used - possibly GPS on mobile cell phones.

But it's for sure not a question of density of population only, otherwise, there would not be so much XM on abandoned parking places, where nobody lives, but cars are just rusting till they find a new owner.


Xm is generated thru the amount of basic gps hits a location receives.

  • 5
    That's a rather specific claim. Do you have any source for this?
    – kotekzot
    Feb 25, 2013 at 3:26

After playing Ingress for four days its apparent to me that XM Is generated by google location service and GPS hits from cellphones. XM is genrated along roads, in parking lots, especially gas stations and intersections. Basically anywhere that many unique cellphones congregate or are present in large numbers over time. The thing I observed that sealed it in my mind was seeing evenly spaced very orderly XM on the map inside a good sized hotel, as if the XM was spaced by room where many different phones persisted for hours or days with out traveling with the owners.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .