Fitness app highlights sensitive military positions around the world

The locations of several USA military bases in the Middle East seem to have been inadvertently revealed through U.S. soldiers' use of fitness tracking devices, and the fitness tracking app Strava.

The app, called Strava, was launched in 2011 and uses Global Positioning System data to track user activity such as running or cycling. This includes sensitive U.S. military locations, such as those in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

The map shows a great deal of activity in the U.S. and Europe, but in war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria the heat map becomes nearly entirely dark - except for scattered evidence of activity.

It also shows that the locale data has been trailed at the regions outside bases which may show frequently utilized exercise course or patrolled roads.

Known UK base RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands is lit up brightly on the heatmap, as are nearby bodies of water Lake Macphee and Gull Island Pond, apparently popular swimming spots with the 1,000 British personnel based there.

Ruser is a founder member of Institute for United Conflict Analysts and he said on Twitter, "Strava released their global heatmap". Its technology is just doing what it's supposed to do, helping users keep track of their activities, specifically exercise like running and jogging.

The locations are mostly known in countries such as Syria and Iraq, but the heat map data shows exact patterns of where soldiers using Strava's platform travel on a regular basis. On top of precise locations, the data Strava plotted provides insights into how people are moving around different places, including army bases.

So Ruser got to thinking. However, some areas are unknown locations, which probably mean that they are secret outposts where American soldiers and other military personnel operate. So do the populated areas of the world where there are the most activities uploaded onto the social media activity website like the eastern seaboard of North America and Europe.

The map includes over one billion activities, covering a total distance of 27 billion kilometres or 5% of all the land on Earth.

The map, which was first published by Strava Labs in November, covers 17 billion miles of distance and a total recorded activity duration of 200,000 years. Many people on social media and other online forums are working on combining rumors, known information, and the Strata activity map to locate possible Central Intelligence Agency facilities and the like, according to the newspaper.

  • Zachary Reyes