This Heat Map Will Make You Question Your Fitness Tracker #CitizenScience #science #tech #security

There was quite a stir on my Public Lab group today when Scott Eustis shared a link for fitness tracker activity on off-shore oil rigs from Strava Labs Global Heat Map. Scott has an above average interest in all things water since he is involved with protecting the Gulf. He quickly realized that this sort of map would be able to relay interesting data, and later shared outlines of boats. Think about it, if you had to jog in an enclosed area, imagine what the map would look like. In a few minutes someone shared an article from The Washington Post about something more critical that was discovered on the map.

Kandahar Base as seen from a heat map

It turns out Strava Labs is used by many with Fitbits, Jawbones and other trackers. Their GPS data point service not only helps you to share your ride or jogging info, but it can also help cities with their planning. However, someone had a different idea of how it might be used according to the post.

Nathan Ruser, who is studying international security and the Middle East, found out about the map from a mapping blog and was inspired to look more closely, he said, after a throwaway comment by his father, who observed that the map offered a snapshot of “where rich white people are” in the world.

“I wondered, does it show U.S. soldiers?” Ruser said, and he immediately zoomed in on Syria. “It sort of lit up like a Christmas tree.”

It isn’t that the heat map revealed secret locations, but what it did reveal is paths taken by soldiers, which can be useful information. Luckily this information is not in real time and it’s only a compilation from the last two years. It should be mentioned that Russian bases were also found on the map, so I’m sure there will be changes soon on how all military personnel use fitness trackers. It also makes me wonder if a new form of misinformation will be to pay people to wear fitness trackers and have them walk specific routes. It’s an interesting dilemma, but it does point to the power of GPS and aerial imagery. I’m sure we will be hearing more about this map in the future, but in the meantime, make sure you check your tracker settings.

Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

Join 7,500+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython in 2018 – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

Maker Business — Fewer startups, and other collateral damage from the 2018 tariffs

Wearables — Light as a Worbla feather

Electronics — Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your semiconductor is DOA

Biohacking — The Heart Rates of the Hazda

Python for Microcontrollers — One year of CircuitPython weeklies!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.