Geographical Information Science (GIS), Spatial Sampling and Soil variability examined using a case of Manslaughter Forensic Soil Science and Geology

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Abstract

The body of a missing person was found adjacent to a 3km-long sand-covered forest track in an upland area of Northern Ireland (UK). Geological trace evidence in the form of sand was found in the passenger foot well and on the foot pedals of a vehicle belonging to the last known associates of the deceased. A Geographical Information Science (GIS) methodology was used to integrate regional geological and soil databases to confirm the provenance of the sand and to find geographic locations for control (or alibi) samples. To compliment the forensic examination in the case, seventy-seven samples were taken at the scene in order to test whether such a collection assists knowledge of the scene, or whether fewer, targeted samples at access points to the body would have sufficed. The results demonstrate the potential applications of a GIS approach and show the usefulness of employing a spatial sample scheme to understand the degree of local variability between samples. The findings from this study demonstrated that fewer samples would have been sufficient to associate the questioned items with the scene, yet would not have demonstrated how other areas of the track could be progressively excluded from comparison.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeological Society of London Special Publication: GSL Special Publication "Forensic Soil Science and Geology"
EditorsRob Fitzpatrick, Laurance Donnelly
PublisherGeological Society of London
Chapter4
Pages55-63
Number of pages8
Volume492
ISBN (Electronic)2041-4927
ISBN (Print)0305-8719
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameForensic Soil Science and Geology
PublisherGeological Society London
Volume492
ISSN (Print)0305-8719

Keywords

  • GIS
  • spatial
  • sampling
  • geoforensic
  • forensics
  • geology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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