In your Pokemon Go app at the bottom right of the screen there is a little box. Inside you'll find images of the three Pokemon which are closest to you right now, and if you click to open it up you're supposed to be able to use it to track their location.
The Pokemon at the top left of the expanded list is closest to you right now and the number of footprints underneath give a rough idea of the distance you'll need to travel to encounter it, with one print being closest and three further away. This makes sense and is one of the primary purposes of the entire game- finding Pokemon. Unless, like me, you're afflicted with the location glitch.
I've never seen less than three footprints, making it next to impossible to tell if I'm moving closer to my target. The order of creatures changes from time to time but there's no clear way to tell if I'm making progress. And it seems I'm not the only one, with users around the world reporting that this issue has appeared in recent days.
It's a pretty big deal when it comes to actually progressing beyond picking up the Drowsee's and Rattata's which basically infest my version of this augmented reality world. New Pokemon earn you more XP and different candy for those all important evolves and the search is of vital importance to the whole ethos of the game- the catch phrase is 'gotta catch 'em all' for heck's sake!
While it doesn't actually stop you from playing, like some of the other server based errors the game has been experiencing, it does make one of the biggest areas of the game pretty unsatisfying. As users continue to complain about the issue developers Niantic remain silent, probably because they're monumentally stressed trying to keep the game from toppling on its millions of users.
This massive Reddit thread shows how widespread the problem is and that there seems to be no confirmed fix in sight, though some have founds restarted the app helps. For the moment it looks like I'm stuck chancing upon Pokemon in the wild until an update fixes this glaring and frustrating glitch.