DigTrace: dinosaurs to forensics

Software developed at Bournemouth University could be used by the Home Office and National Crime Agency in investigations.

Initially, DigTrace was designed to study fossil footprints but after a decade of research, it could now help the police in solving crimes.

Most burglars are careful not to leave fingerprints, but wouldn’t mind footprints, since traditionally footprint could only evidence the shoe type or the force involved. However, with DigTrace, foot trace left at crime scene could also help police to expose who they are.

Through measuring footprint photos, it builds up 3D models to visualise the likely characteristics of criminals shoes. Then it computes to track directly to individual or populations.

If DigTrace passes the test, this handy approach could be available for every police force in the UK.

“This will make a significant difference to the value of footwear evidence in a crime investigation,” says Professor M David Osselton, Head of the Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science at Bournemouth University.

DigTrace’s project leader, Professor Matthew, Bennett tells The Breaker how DigTrace would benefit police investigations.


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