how is MU calculate? and is Ingress using up-to-date data?

not sure if this is the right place (bug may be a stretch), but here we go

how is the value of MUs captured by a field calculated? I live in an area of NYC which is "ranked as third-highest in apartment construction in country" ( yet when i field over a block that easily homes 400 people i only get +20MUs. At the same time, i see much smaller (in area size) fields in midtown Manhattan getting +250MUs.

Given the population explosion in LIC in just recent years, im wondering if Niantic is using up-to-date population density data to calculate the MU count of a field

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  • We haven't updated global population data, which is used to calculate Mind Units or MU, I believe since Niantic spun out of Google. It's possible to update, but a non-trivial amount of work to update (it's not that easy).

    MU is calculated based on area of the Field and the population near the Field anchors. It's the reason why Big Augmented Fields over large bodies of water, like the Atlantic Ocean for example, are effective at capturing as many MU as they do, even though there technically aren't human populations (at least at that scale) living under those overwater BAFs.

  • @NianticBrian will they ever be updated or adjusted at some point in the future?

  • mortuusmortuus ✭✭✭✭✭

    maybe let the ai do the hard work and update the mu data

  • thanks Brian for getting back to me! from a quick Google search, it looks like Niantic was spun off in 2015, so that's 8 years with outdated population density data.

    Arguably, MUs captured is the purpose of Ingress, so not having that data matching reality is a bit troublesome, in particular when there's an in-game badge to capture MUs.

    Specifically for the US population, the 2020 Census is probably going to provide a very updated view of where people are, so i would really appreciate if there's some consideration in updating the density information (altho it's clear the process in itself may take considerable time). thanks!

  • Well, normally I'd say "the guy who runs the game probably knows best" but someone linked to this in a forum's just flat wrong. To the point I'm emerging from the depths of retirement to spill tea.

    The way MU is calculated is a factor of population density within S2-cells and how the triangle-on-a-sphere covers those cells. But the 'math' of calculating it is a little more complex than that.

    I'm hopeful I can link to this really helpful document that includes a bunch of empirical whatnot alongisde some explanations:

    To put a finer point on it, here is a real life example (albeit old) --

    The highlighted field on the left is smaller -- 1898km^2 -- and has 208k MU. The field on the right is bigger (2265km^2)....but because of the size, some of the S2 cells are "combined" into the larger S2 cell that has a lower average population density. So as a result, the overall MU for that (much larger) field is only 171k MU. The difference in anchors is....cornfields vs cornfields/non-meaningful. And results like these are demonstrable time and time again with fielding in Ingress.

    The data of ingress was always one of my favorite things. So I got reaaaaaal into the maths of figuring out how to estimate MU, and am very confident in these examples and explanations.

    (Someone elsewhere suggested that Brian may have been right about the calculation from pre-spinoff days. This is possible, since there was a really big 'break' in the trend for MU counts globally (and in individual cells) around September 2015, about when Niantic spun off from Google:

    So...yeah, there's a decent chance he's at least partly right here, for some period of time or certain circumstance. But that hasn't been the case for 8+ years now, and there's lots of evidence to back that up.)

    Anyway, I'll go back to my retirement. Cheers, and Happy slightly-late-Thanksgiving for those of you in the US.

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