A fitness tracking company named Strava has inadvertently released sensitive locational data about military bases around the world in the form of a detailed heatmap.

The map shows all activity ever recorded by the app’s users, which allows exercise routes to be uploaded and shared. Released in November last year, it contains more than 3 trillion GPS data points collected from devices running the app such as Fitbits and smartphones.

While the map sure as heck looks pretty and can show popular exercise locations, it also makes remote military outposts stand out like dogs balls. Given the map is accessible to anyone, that’s not really the kind of information you want your enemies to see.

Military analyst, Nathan Ruser, picked up on the bung data, making a series of tweets pointing out that US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable”.

FOBs are forward operating bases.

Analyst, Tobias Schneider, added his own thoughts to the data map.

It should be pointed out that many of these sensitive locations are not visible on other GPS apps like Google Maps, but are clearly shown when zooming in on the Strava heat map. Even outside of conflict zones, locations like Homey Airport, Nevada (more commonly known as Area 51) has been illuminated by a solo cyclist riding along the west edge of Groom Lake.

The company also released a heatmap back in 2015, but says the latest update “includes six times more data than before – in total 1 billion activities from all Strava data through September 2017. Our global heatmap is the largest, richest, and most beautiful dataset of its kind. It is a direct visualisation of Strava’s global network of athletes.”

It’s certainly not an ideal situation for defense around the world, particularly given the detailed mappings of the outposts in question. I’d wager the Strava app will be banned from these places pretty damn quickly.

Source: The Guardian
Image: Dad's Army