Scout controller can be obtained without actually scanning the portal

oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

Last night I was getting notifications that I was losing Scout Controller status, I looked at the portals and realised that this particular agent was simply scanning volatiles whilst on a train. The pattern indicated that they weren't even at the portals (which would require more time to drive/walk to and then scan it), they were just hitting scan whilst travelling on the train.

There should be some internal check to ensure that scans are conducted without huge movement? Perhaps grabbing the player's coordinates at initialisation and then checking the coordinates at the end of the scan. If the distance and/or speed from the initial coordinates is too great, the scan shouldn't count.

Also sunset is at 8:45PM AEDT, but these scans occurred after sunset, when it was dark. They shouldn't have been able to initiative if they were legit, however as the inside of a train is lit up, it was allowed.

This is the only screenshot I have of the map showing the user's activity, unfortunately it refreshed and the actions were lost. Each major point of action has occurred at each of the train stations.

I only mention this because I've spent a lot of time and effort scanning unique portals (have done over 5k now), so it is disheartening to see somebody just lazily gaining controller (with the VSCP bonus) without putting in the actual effort. Hence why a distance/speed check should be part of the process to ensure that scans are at least at the portal when they happen.

10 votes

Working on a Fix · Last Updated


  • mortuusmortuus ✭✭✭✭✭

    probably just scanned his feet while moving... sad

  • Not a bug, wrong category to post

  • 3car3car ✭✭✭

    Not a bug, but is very worrisome. I heard some people scan their hands, and it just passes.

  • quirischaquirischa ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    Not a bug, works as intended, while it is still unclear what is the profit of scans for Ingress gameplay.

    (Wonder when scans check will be available at Wayfarer.)

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Seeing this action become more common with more people doing it.

    Lost controller status on several portals today, where the people were very clearly driving along the road and hitting scan while going past the portals.

    Plus they are only targeting volatile portals, which is more reason why volatile should be invisible as it would promote more scans overall, rather than just specific scans.

    Such laziness negatively affects the value of portal scans and is a complete cheat for gaining points without actually putting in the effort for doing it properly.

    On the plus side, I can at least rescan these in 30 days and finally be able to recoup some of the volatile points I never got in the first place lol

  • Jo0LzJo0Lz ✭✭✭✭✭

    Dude, nobody cares about scans. Working for data we’ll never see in game.

    They can’t even create visual indicators for unique visited/captured portals. Curve of the earth is not considered when drawing links. Portal photo’s are not being added, the list goes on and on.

    At the moment alerts tab is broken and they’ve been trying to fix normal comms for half a year now.

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You might not care, but I do as I am working towards the Scout Controller badge and most importantly Niantic care as it is providing value to the company - meaning scans is giving purpose for Ingress to live on, rather than the game just being cut for not being sustainable. Since there are people that care, including Niantic, reporting things that devalue what Niantic value is fundamental to fixing the system so that the value goes up, instead of down.

    Those other things you mentioned, they are not going to devalue Ingress. They've either been requests or issues for a long time and people have learned to live with them (sadly).

  • Jo0LzJo0Lz ✭✭✭✭✭

    Dude, we all work around the bugs and limitations. NIA simply doesn't care. Hence the lack of comments or recognition on this whole topic. I'm sure they have looked at the data they got from scans and are like "huh, this doesn't seem right". They might address it in 9 years, like they did with the new "actions" that will count towards a "portal visit". I've stopped caring. NIA did, so why should I?

    They added gamification to the whole scanning process with their badges, making sure they will get garbage because people only want points.

    Since it took them 9 years to make several actions count towards a portal visit, and the fact that after 9 years and 4,5 years of developing Prime, links still don't follow the curvature of the earth, makes me expect actual implementation of that scan data in the game will take at least another 9 years.

    Anyway, scan all you want, you just told me you only want the badge. Start just scanning the sidewalk and lights (when it's dark) so you get the badge, don't expect NIA to change the implementation, it's pulling a dead horse.

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with your points, except for the last bit. I'm not lowering my self to cheating the system to simply get the points, I have integrity and value the quality of the scans (hence this topic). I do like scanning because it's a fun way to explore and thanks to scanning I have attained Onyx Pioneer (yesterday in fact). So the point of this topic is to highlight a loophole that can be used to exploit Scout Controller from lazy and dishonest players whom don't want to scan properly. Whether Niantic actually do something for once (which would be a surprise to all of us) is another story, but at least this particular issue is out there and known.

  • ArkFangArkFang ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    It’s not a bug because it’s intentional misuse. Scanning works as it is intended to (capturing data points and tracing data, during visible light levels, etc) but the user is purposefully misusing it. Not sure what you think Niantic could even do about that. No scanning after sundown? Some places get near-constant to actual perpetual sun or no sun at all at times. What about the few places where portals are in buildings typically open at night (sports or concert arenas, etc)? Recognize the waypoint you’re scanning? That’s why we are scanning waypoints, to gather that data. You can’t compare something to something else that doesn’t exist or is unreliable.

    Does the system need improvement, absolutely. But in THIS instance, it is not a bug.

    Or, like others have pointed out, it could be queued scans for later, since you can’t tell where the agent really was or anything similar. HOPEFULLY and ideally this was the case.

    Post edited by ArkFang on
  • aaronviannoaaronvianno ✭✭✭✭

    I believe this is what happened. ^

    I can confirm that home portals with 700+ scans thing has a "loophole" for misuse. It has to do with what a scan actually is, and how a scan "can" be taken.

    Maybe the alert message for a lost Scout can be modified to be more indicative of when the scan was from. - Scout Lost (##:##)

    Where # is the actual time of the scan in 24 hour format.

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    My suggestion in the original post was to record the GPS coordinates at initialisation of the scanning (so it won't matter where the scan starts due to a lot of portals not being in the correct location), then record the GPS coordinates again at the end. If the distance from beginning and end of the scan is over some threshold (say 100m), then clearly the scan is not legitimate as nobody should be moving that quickly when the intention is to walk around the object, not go a long distance away from it while scanning.

    Like mentioned before, not a bug but an issue. Still worth reporting so that Niantic can be aware of it (whether they acknowledge it or not lol)

    I can also 100% confirm in both instances people were travelling, they were not scanned and uploaded later. It is very obvious when you can see people's locations and they are travelling in line with the sequence of the portals. I know these people very well and know how they travel. Also some of these portals require at least getting out of the car and a walk to them, so they wouldn't be possible in such a quick fashion one after the other as the time frames wouldn't be possible.

    As for home portal scans, that's another issue entirely. One that would be more challenging. I can only hope that Brian Rose is forced to watch every single scan for introducing such a PITA system lol

  • 3car3car ✭✭✭

    A question after some reading, how can Niantic distinguish the outlier scans?

    For example I scanned a fountain about 200 times before the scout controller was introduced. Possibly there is a good data on that portal. But, If there is, for example a mural, and the first two people scan their hands. Possibly the system will recognize the portal scan data as a hand. The 3rd agent scans the mural, and-whoops-a-daisy.

    The only result of the scan data we've seen so far is an array of dots in a 3D grid. That'll be hard to distinguish from portal photos, and that is a huge number to take care of. Rather it is better to do 10sec scans and as @oscarc1 mentioned, a threshold might work. There are big portals, bigger than 100m away from the portal, but that's something Niantic has to figure out. I can't scan a big portal, I.e. soccer field, from 40 meter away and do the back side of it within 30 seconds.

  • Jo0LzJo0Lz ✭✭✭✭✭

    The biggest problem I have with scanning is the duration and the fact that it doesn’t seem to use my phone’s multiple camera’s and LiDAR Scanner.

    In the beginning I was scanning actual portals during all times of day. 5 second minimal and I did what was told “walk around the portal slowly”.

    The real problem is that this doesn’t work anymore. When you actually scan a portal now, all you get is error messages. “Going to slow, not enough light, etc.”

    Make the scan time limit 5 seconds minimum again. That way I’m tempted to do it whilst walking by. Right now, I walk by a portal an I scan it for 2-5 seconds, then swing the camera around until the time is full.

  • 3car3car ✭✭✭

    Agreed, 5 seconds still made a brief pause while walking. 15 seconds is a halt.

  • HydracyanHydracyan ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    Make the scanning process to start and end within the 40m range.

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's wonderful to hear that you are looking at the speed limit on portal scanning! Thank you Brian :D

    @Hydracyan Not all portals are in the correct position unfortunately, many a time I've had to walk to a portal that is 50m or 60m+ and then walk over to the object to scan it. That reminds me, I need to submit a location edit for one I scanned this morning lol

  • HydracyanHydracyan ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, It should definitely be under 100m or less, just to avoid car/metro scan. And if is impossible to scan the actual thing withing it's 40m I think it should be edited or removed first. Or that would be the valid example to scan the ground. I did this in some portals that didn't exist anymore, hoping they would be removed, but that didn't happen yet, even after many reports.

  • 100% this. I originally started doing scans properly, they were easy to do in 5 seconds, small filesize, and didn't have the movement lock on it.

    15 seconds is just way too long for some portals (Plaques don't even need the 5!), the movement requirement is ridiculous too, some portals just don't require you to move at all. The only updated requirement I kinda agree with is the darkness one, but as pointed out in the quoted comment: A lot of phones have options for that which are just not utilised.

    The 15s and movement is what has caused the drop in quality imo, people just don't want to put in proper effort when the work far outweighs the payoff.

    That being said, if niantic actually addresses it properly and gives us reasoning as to why scans are important in order to properly incentivise the playerbase, then you'll see a marketable increase in quality.

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