Meet the New and Improved Discovery Mapping

Discovery Mapping is better than ever with a new and improved interface to help you track your progress towards daily rewards.

Meet the New and Improved Discovery Mapping

We’re rolling out a new approach to Discovery Mapping that will make it easier for subscribers to see how much progress they’ve made towards their daily rewards, while better informing where new coverage is most needed and cutting down on gaming.

As a reminder, the purpose of Discovery Mapping is to reward our subscribers for sharing their regular usage patterns with us as this effort contributes to building the Helium Mobile Network. We are going to break down the changes below. 

New to Discovery Mapping? Check out this blog first.

Instead of “events”, Discovery Mapping now uses hexes to track daily progress.

What’s a hex?

In the Helium Mobile Network, coverage areas are represented by hexagons (“hexes”). There are a lot of reasons why we use hexes to map out coverage areas (if you want to take a deeper dive, check out this article). Hexes allow us to maximize precision and proximity when mapping out the network. 

We are applying the hex structure to Discovery Mapping events for two reasons:

  1. To make it easier for subscribers to track their progress towards a day of rewardable events
  2. To prevent bad actors from using multiple phones and accounts to game mapping rewards

Discovery Mapping hexes are about the size of 2 basketball courts, end-to-end. 

So how do I qualify for mapping rewards? 

For a Discovery Mapper to qualify for rewards, they must map a total of 40 eligible hexes a day. A hex is about the size of 2 basketball courts or 1 supermarket. If you lined up 40 hexes in a row, it’s about the distance of 1 mile.

Why 1 mile? The goal of Discovery Mapping is to understand coverage benefits based on the natural movements of subscribers. Given that the average American usually lives approximately 0.9 miles away from a supermarket, 1 mile seemed reasonable for a typical daily travel radius for our subscribers.

What determines hex eligibility? 

Qualified hexes are (1) located within the US and (2) are not experiencing a cooldown period. 

Once a subscriber maps a hex, that hex will enter a 1-hour cooldown period, meaning another subscriber cannot qualify for rewards using that hex until the cooldown period is over. 

Cooldown periods prevent duplicate location data that does not contribute useful usage and coverage planning information, especially when it is received over a short time span. 

The cooldown period is also an anti-gaming measure. Discovery Mapping rewards are evenly split among all subscribers who qualify for rewards. So, in addition to providing bad usage and coverage data, Discovery Mapping gamers take more than their fair share of rewards and dilute the rewards pool for all other Discovery Mappers. These changes will help address this problem. 

If the hex is located in the US and not in cooldown, there are a few other reasons you might not see a hex count towards your daily goal. The app will give you a daily breakdown of ineligible hexes, along with explanations, while also tracking your progress. 

Tips for getting started

Change is tough - we get it. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started with the new and improved version of Discovery Mapping.

  • Map 40 unique hexes in a day to be eligible for rewards
  • The hours of your mapping day depend on your timezone. Check the app to see how much time you have left to complete your goal. 
  • Rewards are issued at the same time every day
  • Hexes are about the length of 2 basketball courts, so keep moving!
  • Hexes need 1 hour to cool down before they can be mapped again 
  • Don’t see an update yet? Don’t worry. To save battery, mapping begins once you’ve moved more than 200m

No need to write these down. These helpful tips will also appear in your Helium Mobile app. 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start mapping.

Not a subscriber yet? Join today.


What makes a hex eligible?

A hex is eligible to map if it has not been mapped within the last hour. This is called the cooldown period.

Why is there a cooldown period?

A cooldown prevents duplicate location data that is not useful to inform usage and coverage planning, especially in a short time period. This is also an anti-gaming measure.

Why else would a hex be ineligible?

Aside from being in cooldown, a hex is considered ineligible if:

  • The hex’s location is outside of US.
  • The hex has been mapped by another subscriber within the last hour.
  • The hex’s timestamp is too far in the future - make sure your clock is set to automatic. Trying to change your phone's time to modify your rewards period will result in this error.
  • The hex’s latitude/longitude is malformed or invalid. Make sure you don't have a VPN turned on or anything else that could obfuscate your location.

The chart in your app shows an overview of when you mapped eligible and ineligible hexes, so you can correlate your movement during the day with mapping events.