But fitness tracker users skew western, young, and active. Most of the bases that can be seen are already publicly known.
The map, made by Strava Labs, shows the movements of its app users around the world, indicating the intensity of travel along a given path - a "direct visualization of Strava's global network of athletes", it says.
Prompted by the observations of 20-year-old Australian student Nathan Ruser, experts weighing in on Twitter have spotted what look to be USA and allied bases in Syria, French outposts in Niger, and Turkish troops on patrol in Syria.
Nathan Ruser, a member of the Institute for United Conflict Analysts, pointed out how examining remote areas on the map which display a high concentration of exercise could give away the location of secret bases and military operations. The Ministry of Defense is aware of the Strava data being posted online and is keeping an eye on the situation, ministry spokesperson Paul Bezuijen said to AD. Defense will take measures should they prove necessary.
In large cities and well-known locations, the highlighted routes are hardly surprising, with dense urban areas lit up brightly compared to unpopulated areas or places without many app users.
In a statement to The Verge, Strave said "the map is an aggregated and anonymised view of over a billion activities uploaded to our platform".
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Strava said in a statement to CNN that the company is "committed to helping people better understand" its privacy settings. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic. The data is not live but it does reveal patterns, locations, and routines.
Users can ask themselves, do I really want to share my jogging route with the entire Internet?
"Recent data releases emphasize the need for situational awareness when members of the military share personal information", Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway of the U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement about the implications of the Strava data that has made worldwide headlines.
Journalist Andrew Rawnsley noticed a lot of jogging activity on the beach near a suspected Central Intelligence Agency base in Mogadishu. "US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable".
It appears to show the structure of foreign military bases in countries including Syria and Afghanistan, as soldiers move around inside.
The heatmap also appears to highlight RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands and a base used by French soliders in Niger.