The archipelago of militarized space
December 12, 2013 12:22 PM   Subscribe

The map of US military installations by artist Josh Begley uses the US military's list of bases (plus a few other sources) to provide satellite image maps of hundreds of military sites around the world. For similar efforts, see Radical Cartography and the always-amazing work of Trevor Paglen
posted by blahblahblah (10 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Well, we spend nearly 5% of our GDP on the military every year, and 50% of the federal discretionary budget - money that could do unimaginable things for scientific research, health and welfare, education, or infrastructure, but at least the world is a paradise of peaceful democratic nations free of strife or tyranny.

also gasoline is under $4/gal
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:36 PM on December 12, 2013

Heh. Apparently we aren't supposed to see Volkel Airbase.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:43 PM on December 12, 2013

But I just realized that's a little derail-y, so let me say on the topic of the cool maps, that is a remarkable number of military bases. I wouldn't have guessed that we have that many.

I wonder whether or not I would guess that these were military installations if I was an alien surveying the Earth from space. They do look kind of forbiddingly geometrical.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:44 PM on December 12, 2013

I should mention, as an addendum to my post, that many of these are vanishingly small installations, not large bases. For example, I saw one image of naval radio towers in Iceland and another of a small civil/military airfield in Alaska.

In some ways, though, these smaller sites are even more interesting than the big bases.
posted by blahblahblah at 1:03 PM on December 12, 2013

Heh. Apparently we aren't supposed to see Volkel Airbase.

Google's source is the most obscured. Wikipedia's place page lists a number of sites using likely a common source which obscures less. The nukes, I'm guessing...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:03 PM on December 12, 2013

Wow. I thought I had a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of US installations and there are a number of them I never heard of. In some cases the facilities listed are not technically military facilities. For instance, Pine Gap is not in any way a DoD facility. It might be Australian owned or it might be owned by some three letter agency, but it isn't a DoD site. Nonetheless, it is a pretty neat map.
posted by Lame_username at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2013

For instance, Pine Gap is not in any way a DoD facility.

It's part of the NSA (which is a DoD agency) and U.S. Air Force missile defense networks. It may not be exclusively DoD, but it's definitely a DoD facility.
posted by Etrigan at 1:42 PM on December 12, 2013

Lovely and impressive work. Maintaing the Imperium never looked so good.

But here's another missing one, and it's not secret. I've been to the front gate of the Barrow DEW Line station many times. There's a totem pole right there, which is totally incongruous in the Arctic, known as the most northerly totem pole in the world, although I didn't know its funny backstory until I just looked it up.

Anyway, it's obviously a mistaken omission since he's got the other LRSS sites along the Beaufort and Chukchi coasts marked just fine.
posted by spitbull at 1:57 PM on December 12, 2013

I have to say, that I'm a bit disappointed. Based on the title, I was expecting orbiting laser satellites or secret moon bases to defend us against the alien menace. I mean, it's s am incredible impressive work as it is, but still. Not. Moonbases.

I guess I'll just go watch some old episodes of UFO.
posted by happyroach at 2:44 PM on December 12, 2013

Wow that is impressive though!
posted by wallarookiller at 10:20 PM on December 15, 2013

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