If you look closely enough on Google or Bing Maps, some places are blanked out, hidden from public view. The United States military has a foothold in every corner of the world, with military bases on every continent.
That's what Josh Begley, a data artist, found out when he embarked on a project to map all known U.S. The project, which he warns is ongoing, was inspired by Trevor Paglen's book "Blank Spots on the Map" which goes inside the world of secret military bases that are sometimes censored on maps. Begley has found the coordinates for 650 bases, and published pictures for 644 of them — although a few are blacked out, not displayed, or blurred. He started working on the project at the beginning of November, simply armed with the Department of Defense 2013 Base Structure Report, an inventory of all the real estate owned by the Pentagon around the world, a few media reports that uncovered secret bases, and a computer script he had used last year to make another mapping project that displayed aerial pictures of U.S. He modified that script, which he made along with his friend and fellow digital artist Jer Thorp, to grab a series of coordinates from a database file, query the Google and Bing maps' APIs, and automatically capture a satellite picture of that spot.
This manual work was also necessary in cases where the bases are secret, or at least not officially acknowledged by the U.S. Google Earth satellite pictures were reportedly used to pinpoint a target by terrorists who killed 164 people in a tragic attack in Mumbai, India, which prompted some to call for a ban on publishing these types of pictures. This capability can theoretically be used to plot terror attacks, he explained, but it can also provide great geographical insight. Begley, on his part, said he would understand if someone criticized the project, but he doesn't see anything wrong with it.


Nobody owns the skies above secret bases, so there's no law that prevents privately-owned or public satellites from snapping pictures from space. Google Maps, for example, doesn't show an image for the secret drone base exposed by Wired.
And in other cases the censorship — for lack of a better word — can be even more imaginative, as it is with images of the Volkel Air Base, a military base in the Netherlands.
These are cases in which Google and Microsoft were asked not to publish a clear image of the sites. Take a look at the most interesting aerial views, as chosen by Begley himself, in the gallery below.
This base in North Carolina has been used for years by the CIA to train agents for terrorist attacks. This is "the most powerful transmission station in the Southern Hemisphere," according to the Daily Mail. Jeremy Scahill exposes this base in his award-winning book "Dirty Wars," where he describes it as a "launching pad" for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the secretive elite military organization that comprises the Navy SEALs.
Explores the military installation and opportunities that are available for service members stationed there.
Location: Home to the 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks is nestled at the foot of the Waianae mountain range on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Sounds easy enough, but some publicly available coordinates aren't particularly precise, so Begley had to manually take screenshots for those (and he still has to finish correcting some mistakes).


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel officially revealed its location on Tuesday — even though it had been something of an open secret. In 2000, pictures of the once secret Area 51, taken by a Russian satellite, were leaked on the Internet. The two companies declined to answer specific questions about the sites, and about Begley's project. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe.
The installation is located a few miles from the towns of Wahiawa and Mililani and is 17 miles from Honolulu.
The Pentagon says there are around 5,000 in total, and 598 in foreign countries, but those numbers are disputed by the media. The CIA site that independent journalist Jeremy Scahill uncovered in Mogadishu, Somalia, or the secret drone base unearthed by Wired's Noah Shachtman earlier this year are examples.
The men who would be tasked with this mission were classified as Task Force 88," writes Scahill in his book. The 17,725-acre Schofield Barracks site was established in 1908 to provide a base for the Army's mobile defense of Pearl Harbor and the entire island.



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