Ingress Bootcamp

Welcome to the Niantic Project. You may have not signed up for this, but its too late, you are knee deep in it and the only thing you can do is fight. This will serve as your guide to building your strength and destroying your opponents.

The Niantic Project is a top secret operation run by the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) to research and explore a new energy that has been discovered on our planet. There are two primary factions in this war, the Enlightened and the Resistance. The Enlightened claim to be evolving civilization by learning more about this energy and the Resistance is scared of the potential dangers that come with this new energy.

There is no time to waste, so let's get started.

What is Ingress & The Niantic Project?

This is an important question, as many people are confused as to what Ingress or Niantic Project even are. The short answer, is they are all apart of an Augmented Reality Game (ARG) that is the output of a division of Google, Inc. called Niantic Labs. Ingress is the name of the game and application hosted on the Google Play Market. The Niantic Project is a top secret project commissioned by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

There has been quite a bit of publicity surrounding the game, starting as early as Comicon 2012 in San Diego with a secretive comic artist specialist, Tycho. There was a great amount of a buzz regarding Tycho and posters that he had made that were inspired somewhat by premonitions? Regardless, people wanted to find him, no one knew who he was, and he appeared during a key note presentation having to be escorted out of the room due to his erratic behavior.

P.A. Chapeau (PAC) has been a key player in the investigation of the Niantic Project. He is the one who has setup the Investigation Board that provides us a picture of what the Niantic Project is all about, by displaying leaked documents, strange events, and other media.

I could write more, but here is a great video that summarizes the first few weeks of information which I think is worth reviewing.

Standard Issue Equipment

When you have been recruited into the mission, you will be issued access to Ingress, an extremely powerful and supposed to be top secret system designed to support you as an operative. The Ingress Scanner is available for download from the Google Play store.

Once installed, power it up. You will need to authenticate with central control and then you will immediately begin the training campaign.

To complement the Ingress mobile application, there is the Ingress Intel Map. It allows you to view portals anywhere in the world. You can use it to hunt for uncaptured or enemy portals or to check up on your own. In the lower right hand corner you can enter any new Ingress Passcodes that you may receive. We will discuss more about Passcodes later in the guide.


After you complete training on the Ingress mobile app, you will have to select a faction. There are two factions in the war, The Enlightenment and The Resistance.

  • Joining The Enlightened
    The Enlightened are interested in the Portals and the mysterious energy that has begun to spread across the planet. They want to research the energy and find a way to utilize it to advance our society.
  • Joining The Resistance
    The Resistance is scared of this new energy and they want to control it to prevent others from knocking down a domino that could be the end of our existence. They see fear in P.A.Chapeau's findings and want to shut it down as soon as possible.

The choice ultimately comes down to you and every agent plays a large part in the success of either campaign. One thing to note, is that once you pick a side, I think it is difficult to switch to the other team.


Mission Items

Items are incredibly important to the success of the mission. There are several different types of items an agent can acquire. Some items have "Access Levels" associated with them which determine their strength and the "Access Level" required of the agent so that they can be used.

Items can be acquired via two methods: hacking a portal and entering a Passcode. Hacking portals is the most common way to acquire items. You can hack any portal and then must wait until a portal's cooldown has ended before it can be hacked a second, third, and fourth time, etc. Passcodes can be entered into the Ingress mobile app or in the Ingress Intel Map interface. They are codes that have been discovered via media items, the Field Trip app, or some other means. Visit our Ingress Passcode Database to view current valid passcodes to get you started with the game.

A high energy particle accelerator that is used to control the XM energy emitted by Portals. Deploying a Resonator on a Portal allows you to claim the Portal for your Faction. Resonators come in varying levels from L1 up to L8. Using a higher level resonator on a portal will increase the power of the portal. Higher level portals can link with other portals at further distances and yield higher level items when hacked.
XMP Burster
Non-polarized energy field weapon. Fires off in moving wave of 360 radius. As the weapon is upgraded, the energy wave’s power and radius of effect grow larger. Like Resonators, XMPs come in varying levels from L1 up to L8.
Portal Key
A Portal key is a signature that can be used to link one portal to another and allow you to recharge a portal's resonators remotely. The destination portal key is consumed in the linking process.
Media items like emails, letters, pictures and videos can be uncovered through hacking portals which provide clues to truly understanding the Niantic Project.
Portal Shield
A type of MOD that can be installed on a Portal to increase its defense against attacks. You can deploy up to 4 shields per portal, but each shield has diminished effect after the first one.
Jarvis Virus / ADA Refactor
These items can be used to flip the faction of a portal. Change a portal's control from Enlightened to Resistance or visa versa.
Power Cubes
Power Cubes are items that contain a large amount of XM to recharge your XM reserves. They have levels from 1 to 8 and increase in capacity 1000 XM per level. Great for players in rural areas.
  • L1 Power Cube = 1000 XM
  • L2 Power Cube = 2000 XM
  • L3 Power Cube = 3000 XM
  • L4 Power Cube = 4000 XM
  • L5 Power Cube = 5000 XM
  • L6 Power Cube = 6000 XM
  • L7 Power Cube = 7000 XM
  • L8 Power Cube = 8000 XM

Action Points (AP) & Leveling

As you dive into the game, there are two terms that will become very important to you, Action Points (AP) and Exotic Matter (XM).

AP is earned through performing actions and is pretty much the same as Experience (XP) earned in many other games. AP is cumulative and when you earn AP, it should flash at the top of your Ingress Scanner. As you earn AP, you will pass milestones which will designate you with a higher level. A higher level is needed to use higher level items, e.g. you need to have a Access Level of 2 in order to use a L2 Resonator.

XM is collected as you travel. While looking at your scanner you will see little blue particle looking balls. As you travel towards them and they enter within range (blue circle), you will collect them to your reserves. XM is important, because it costs XM to perform actions, e.g. it costs a certain amount of XM to hack a portal.


This table lists all the possible actions you can perform and what base AP amount you earn for successfully performing the action.
Action Action Points
Hack a portal (Enemy) 100 AP
Hack a portal (Neutral or Own Faction) 0 AP
Recharge a Portal 10 AP
Place a resonator (new resonator) 125 AP
Upgrade your resonator 0 AP
Upgrade another's resonator 65 AP
Capturing a portal (place the first resonator) 500 AP
Complete a portal (place the eighth resonator) 250 AP
Link two portals 313 AP
Establish a control field 1250 AP
Apply a portal shield 0 AP
Destroy a resonator 75 AP
Destroy a link 187 AP
Destroy a control field 750 AP


This table lists the possible Access Levels and your capabilities at that level.
Level AP Threshold XM Capacity
1 0 3000
2 10,000 4,000
3 30,000 5,000
4 70,000 6,000
5 150,000 7,000
6 300,000 8,000
7 600,000 9,000
8 1,200,000 10,000

Portals & Linking

Portals are all around us and can generally be found at monuments, memorials, historic buildings and sites, exterior works of art, significant structures and unique businesses. Portals can be found using the Ingress Intel Map or using your Ingress Scanner. Portals appear white in color if they are uncaptured, green if they have been captured by the Enlightened or blue if they have been captured by the Resistance.

A portal is captured by placing a resonator on a portal. Portals have levels which are determined by their power output. You can increase a portals power output thus increasing its level by upgrading the resonators to higher levels. Keep in mind you can only place resonators up to the level at which you are, e.g. you can place a resonator up to level 4 if your Access Level is 4.

Also, a single player can only place a certain number of resonators of the same level on a single portal. Here is the breakdown:

Level Max # Per Portal
1 8
2 4
3 4
4 4
5 2
6 2
7 1
8 1

In order to increase your factions total number of mind units, you need to link 3 individual complete portals (portals with 8 resonators) together. Unfortunately, you can not just link any portals together, there are some requirements.

The first requirement, is that you have to have the portal key for the destination portal you wish to link. You can acquire the Portal Key's by hacking both portals. IMPORTANT: The destination portal's Portal Key is consumed by the linking process and without acquiring an extra key by picking one up in the field, you can only get a single portal key for a portal at a time by hacking. So it is important that you rehack the portal to acquire a new portal key after you link it, this will allow you to properly defend your portal.

The two portals being linked need to have enough of a charge on their resonators to sustain the link. This charge level is referred to as the Critical XM health level.

The final requirement is that one of the portals has to have a large enough range to reach the other portal. A portal's level determines its range. The exact formula for a portals range is:

Portal Range  = 160m x (average resonator level) ^ 4

Level Range
1 160m
2 2.560km
3 12.96km
4 40.96km
5 100km
6 207.36km
7 384.16km
8 655.36km

Use our mobile friendly portal build calculator to determine what resonators you will need based on the link distance you need to reach. Ingress Portal Build Calculator.

We are unsure on the maximum number of links possible on a given portal, at one time we thought it was 16, but have seen portals with more than 16. As I mentioned above, linking three portals together creates a Control Field and adds to your Factions Mind Units (essentially the teams score). How much of an increase in score is determined by the population covered by the Control Field. E.g. two Control Fields of equal area but one is in rural farm land and the other is in an Urban area, the Urban Control Field will output a higher number of Mind Units.

Passcodes & Passcode Discovery


Passcodes are merely a alpha numeric (letters and numbers) string of characters that you enter into the Ingress Scanner or the Intel Map to receive in game Mission Items such as Resonators or Xmp Bursters.

Passcodes started out as being unlimited use, but sometime in late November they were changed to be limited use. We believe that the passcodes become invalid after X number of players redeem them or after X number of minutes after the first player redeems it. As it stands, it seems that the majority of players never get a chance to redeem a passcode as it returns INVALID by the time they enter it.

Passcode Discovery

Passcode discovery can be really simple or extremely difficult. The primary source of passcode clues is the Investigation Board. Each day at varying times (generally early afternoon), the NianticLabs team releases new media (Currently, there is a core group of players that coordinate to solve the puzzles). The best way to learn how to discover new passcodes, is to review previously discovered passcodes in our passcode database as we now record how they were discovered if we can. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

  • Passcodes generally follow two patterns (# = a number, x = a letter, keyword = an important word from the media):
    • Normal pattern: #xx#keywordx#x#x
    • Short pattern: keyword##x
  • View the source code of the pages that contain the media. This can be done in most browsers by pulling up the context menu (right click your mouse) on the page and choosing "View Source". Look for strange strings of characters.
  • Brush up on cryptography and encoding methods like base64. This is a top secret operation by the NIA and they will embed secret encrypted messages to protect them. Brushing up on this stuff will help you better identify a clue.
  • Check the exif data of any images included in the media. This can be done by uploading the image or entering a url to an image into a tool like Jeffrey's Exif Data Reader
  • Open any images so you can zoom all the way into the document. Sometimes clues are hidden right before your eyes, they are just to difficult to see zoomed out.
  • Sometimes Niantic Labs will release a second version of the documents later in the day, so it is important to pay attention to detail as the differences between the earlier file and the new one will get you closer to discovering a passcode.

Xmp Bursters & Attacking Enemy Portals

Ok, so we have learned about Linking Portals, now we are going to discuss how Xmp Bursters and how to attack an enemy factions portal.

Enlightened's portals show up green in color and the Resistance's portals show up blue in color. When you encounter an enemy's portal, your objective is to destroy it, then capture it for your team. To destroy it, you need to use an Xmp Burster.

Xmp Bursters are a Mission Item that emit a blast radius which causes portal resonators to discharge energy. When a resonator is completely discharged (to 0%), it is destroyed. When all 8 resonators have been destroyed, the portal becomes uncaptured and can be captured by you.

Xmp Bursters come in varying levels, starting with level 1 and ending with level 8. Each level increase, the Xmp Burster has a larger range for its area of affect. Any resonator within the area effect for a blast will be attacked by the burster.

This table lists the range of each Xmp Burster level.
Level Range (m) Damage
1 42 150
2 48 300
3 58 500
4 72 900
5 90 1200
6 112 1500
7 138 1800
8 168 2700

To use an Xmp Burster there are two methods. The first is to touch and hold on the map, then swipe up to "Fire Xmp" . This method will just use one of your highest available level bursters within your inventory. The second method is to click "OPS" in your scanner, then click "Filter" and select weapons. Then select the Xmp Burster you wish to use. You can only use Xmp Bursters that are at or below your current Access Level, e.g. you can use a L3 Xmp Burster if you are level 4, but not a L5 Xmp Burster.

As you are attacking the portal, you will not destroy any links on the portal until you have discharged the resonators to the point where they cannot produce enough energy to maintain the link. Remember, Resonator's power output is determined by its charge, as they lose charge, they lose strength. This makes it extremely easy for instance to destroy a portal link that extends 500km versus a portal link that extends 500m.

Defending Portals From Enemy Attack

Defending your captured portals is nearly as important as capturing them in the first place. Resonators can be destroyed two ways, both are preventable. The first is just neglect, as resonators decay about 10% of their charge every day. The second, is via an enemy using an xmp burster within range of your resonators.

The only defense against resonator decay, is to recharge your resonators. I have some good news for you, you do not need to physically be at a resonator in order to recharge it, if you are not within range of the resonator, you merely need to have one of it's Portal Key's. To test this out for yourself, click "OPS" from your Ingress Scanner and filter by "Portal Key" and select a portal that is a significant distance from you. You will be view the portals current status and if you have enough energy, recharge the portal from your current location. At this time, I do not know if there is a maximum range (possibly the portals linking range?), but there is an efficiency indicator implying that the further away you are, you will recharge the portals less of a % per attempt.

You have two options to defend your portal from an enemy attack. The first is proactive by placing Portal Shields on the portal which act as a first defense for your resonators. You can place up to 4 shields on a portal. Each shield beyond the first shield has diminished effect. The second defense is recharging your resonators during an attack. As mentioned above, portal resonators can be recharged remotely as long as you have the portal key. So, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have a portal key for your portals and have ample XM reserves at all times. This way when you receive an alert that your portals are under attack, you can potentially keep the portal up long enough for the attacker to run out of xmp's or their smoke break to end.

Keep in mind, the destination portal key is consumed during every portal linking action. So in hostile territories, you will need to retrieve portal keys often or coordinate with other players to help defend portals you don't have keys for.

Recommended Gear

Ingress agents are not fortunate enough to have Q at their disposal like the infamous 007. So, they need to be savvy with the tools readily available. This post is going to cover recommended gear that all agents should be aware of so they can make the best of every situation. This gear has been recommended by experienced field agents so that newcomers can get up to speed quickly. As always, what is not listed below, is to make sure you have plenty of $$$ for gas (petrol for our non-us friends), parking tickets, and food!

Behind the wheel

USB Charger

For agents who just need to power a phone and/or tablet, a good DC charger will do the trick quite nicely. Here are a few. Keep in mind, that ones designed for Apple products often will not charge an Android device properly.

Power inverter

This is an extremely powerful tool for an agent powering several field devices (phone, tablet, and laptop!). These are inexpensive and should be equipped in every agent's vehicles. We chose these two mainly because they offer the longest cord length for an inverted below $30.

External battery

There are several external batteries to choose from that come in quite handy when keeping your gear charged enough for just one more XMP Blast. There are some things to know when choosing a external battery pack. The most important is that some devices work better with Apple i products than with Android based devices (sounds silly, i know). Also, some people have reported that when using a standard usb cable, they have only received a lower trickle charge out of some batteries. It is recommended to use the original usb charging cable or pickup an extra one specifically designed for charging.


Again, since we don't have access to GM's Tech Window yet, we need to create our own heads up display. This can be done simply with a good windshield or dashboard mount for your device.

On foot

Extra device battery

If your device has a replaceable batter, this is an effective way to stay light on your feet while increasing your time in the field. Below are links for replacement batteries for some of the more commonly used devices.

External battery

I have a larger section for external batteries above, but the ones listed here is very small and lightweight, which is useful on foot. Plus having the one with the flashlight would be mighty useful.

By pedal / throttle

Bicycle phone mount

Fantastic way to prevent an accidental drop and allow you to use your device while pedaling. This is a must have for any cyclist agent.

Motorcycle phone mount

Must have while cruising from portal to portal.

All situations

Armor (Jackets / Vests)

Having a jacket or vest with plenty of warmth and gadget compartments is a huge deal and invaluable to an agent of either faction. SCOTTEVEST has come as a recommended brand in this category and what sold me was how each of their items lists the number of pockets it has. A little pricier, but great reviews and a two year zero cost to the customer warranty (including shipping) makes this brand worth mentioning.


When you have to navigate to that slightly out of reach portal when the sun is down, having a flashlight is key.

Capacitive touch gloves

When the temperatures drop to freezing (and for our canadian friends Absolute Zero), you need to keep your fingers warm. What better way to do it than with gloves that are recognized by your touchscreen. There are several to choose from.

Proper protection for your devices

Device insurance is a joke because you pay $10 a month plus a $100 or more deductible. Better to spend the $25 or so to protect your device from those unexpected (really with Ingress, they are expected) drops. I love Otterbox myself, but Body Glove is also good.

Bluetooth headset

Our missions are important and we never know when an agent from an opposing faction could be lurking near us. This is why we need to keep our scanner's communications between the device and us. Not to mention, we are tired of explaining to passer by's what it is we are doing when they hear "Hacking"...


Carrying your gear and not passing out from heat exhaustion are important, thats why we like the following CamelBak bag which offers solutions for both. But you can always get a hydration bladder separately.


Our Ingress missions are important, but even more important is returning home safely every day. Already, many stories have been shared with me that have been quite close calls and I don't want to read a news article of an Ingress agent's life cut short. This section will cover safety tips that will hopefully increase the probability that you will complete your mission without danger.

  1. Don't travel with your eyes locked on your device (unless your the passenger). This applies to all forms of travel (car, foot, bicycle, and motorcycle). It is not worth the risk of stepping into an oncoming car, burning through a red light, or even just walking into a fire hydrant and dropping your scanner onto the pavement. Keep your head up!
  2. Agents often travel with valuable gear into areas that are unfamiliar to them. A good agent will routinely scan their surroundings for threats. These threats don't just include an opposing faction agent charging up some XMP's on your portals. Watch out for anyone who is watching you and make sure that you try to stay in areas that are open, well lit and always be aware of where you could escape to in the event you did need to run.
  3. If traveling solo, do your best to let someone close to you know where you are headed and when you expect to be home. In the event that something did happen to you, authorities will have a better shot at coming to your aid sooner if they know where to look.
  4. Ingress is more than just a game, it has allowed people all over the world to meet and develop new relationships with a common interest. This also means that sometimes you will meet someone who has a little less regard for their safety and yours. Never allow yourself to feel trapped if you are traveling with someone who taking risks that you don't want to be involved in. For example, they are driving and looking for portals while the tires are still rolling. Speak up and ask them to stop, if they won't, ask them to drop you off at a public spot so you can call a cab. It is not worth it.
  5. When patroling your territory at night, always wear clothing that helps other travelers spot you in low light.
  6. Bring plenty of water as dehydration is surprisingly dangerous especially when traveling alone.
  7. It's always exciting to find new portals or to come across one of yours that has been taken by an enemy, but do your best not to make erradic movements that might not give travelers around you time to react. There is no reason to deal with trading insurance information just to catch a new portal.
  8. Brush up on self defense techniques and practice them regularly. Depending on your local government laws, carrying a self defense device like a stun gun may not be a bad idea either. Use your best judgement and choose wisely.
  9. Plan your route in advance. This will reduce any chances for you getting lost or making spontaneous changes in direction.