Article

In this article, GPS Data Expert, Matthew Peterson discusses the use of GPS data within marine disputes. His discussion includes the proper collection, preservation, and analysis of data.

Marine GPS Data

When a vessel is involved in an incident, the GPS unit should become evidence. It is important that the digital evidence, especially the GPS track data, is completely extracted and preserved.

Our experts interpret this data within the context of specific events to reliably answer questions involving speed, location, and many other relevant issues. Data can help support or refute eye-witness testimony.


Above is a picture of a Garmin GPSMAP 2206 with a saved track displayed in blue and named “VESSEL 1.” Too often we receive discovery very similar to the picture above and are told that is what another party, investigator, or examiner “preserved” as the digital evidence from the GPS unit.

This is not a best practice as there is much data that is not preserved, thus critically limiting the ability to analyze and present the data. Depending on the quality of the image and the detail and accuracy of the basemap, even the photos of a track display can be rendered useless in determining precise locations or speeds.

A proper extraction and preservation of GPS digital evidence preserves all the GPS track data in addition to the specific setting on a unit that describes that data.

Often, the extracted evidence is able to be displayed on a basemap with other relevant information. The graphic below shows the same track seen in the Garmin GPSMAP2206 in blue in addition to a different track from a second vessel in red.


Based upon the information above, we can see that at the time of collision Vessel 1 (in blue) was traveling approximately 12 mph and Vessel 2 (in red) was traveling approximately 65 mph after making several loops to starboard.

The animated video below depicts some of the advantages of extracted data and how that information can be used to create effective demonstratives.

GPS & MOBILE DEVICE DATA INVESTIGATIONS

The experts at Robson Forensic have specialized training, education, and experience to extract data from a broad range of systems and devices and interpret that information within the context of a specific incident.

Submit an inquiry or contact digital forensic expert, Matt Peterson, to discuss your case and determine how Robson Forensic can assist with your investigation.

 

Featured Expert

Matthew J. Peterson, CFCE, CCME

GPS & Digital Forensic Expert

Matt Peterson is a digital forensic expert and mobile device forensic investigator. A graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy, Matt gained vital experience in digital forensics while on active duty with the USCG and working with other Homeland Security agencies. Matt was Honorably Discharged from the US Coast Guard as a Lieutenant.

Matt applies his expertise to forensic casework that requires the extraction and interpretation of information from electronic devices. Matt has specialized expertise in the interpretation of missing or contradictory GPS data, which includes the ability to reconcile data gaps or instances where data from multiple devices conflict.