Skip to content

Statistical methods for the forensic analysis of geolocated event data

Conference/Workshop:
US DFRWS Conference
Published: 2020
Primary Author: Chris Galbraith
Secondary Authors: Smyth, P.; Stern, H

A common question in forensic analysis is whether two observed data sets originated from the same source or from different sources. Statistical approaches to addressing this question have been widely adopted within the forensics community, particularly for DNA evidence. Here we investigate the application of statistical approaches to same-source forensic questions for spatial event data, such as determining the likelihood that two sets of observed GPS locations were generated by the same individual. We develop two approaches to quantify the strength of evidence in this setting. The first is a likelihood ratio approach based on modeling the spatial event data directly. The second approach is to instead measure the similarity of the two observed data sets via a score function and then assess the strength of the observed score resulting in the score-based likelihood ratio. A comparative evaluation using geolocated Twitter event data from two large metropolitan areas shows the potential efficacy of such techniques.

Related Resources

Statistical Methods for the Forensic Analysis of User-Event Data

Statistical Methods for the Forensic Analysis of User-Event Data

A common question in forensic analysis is whether two observed data sets originate from the same source or from different sources. Statistical approaches to addressing this question have been widely…
Hunting wild stego images, a domain adaptation problem in digital image forensics

Hunting wild stego images, a domain adaptation problem in digital image forensics

Digital image forensics is a field encompassing camera identication, forgery detection and steganalysis. Statistical modeling and machine learning have been successfully applied in the academic community of this maturing field.…
How Can a Forensic Result Be a ‘Decision’? A Critical Analysis of Ongoing Reforms of Forensic Reporting Formats for Federal Examiners

How Can a Forensic Result Be a ‘Decision’? A Critical Analysis of Ongoing Reforms of Forensic Reporting Formats for Federal Examiners

The decade since the publication of the 2009 National Research Council report on forensic science has seen the increasing use of a new word to describe forensic results. What were…
Psychometric Analysis of Forensic Examiner Behavior

Psychometric Analysis of Forensic Examiner Behavior

Forensic science often involves the comparison of crime-scene evidence to a known-source sample to determine if the evidence and the reference sample came from the same source. Even as forensic…
Do you have 44.03 seconds?

44.3 Seconds. That is the average amount of time it takes for a visitor to provide site feedback.
Test it yourself by taking the survey.


A scientist/researcherA member of the forensic science communityA journalist/publicationA studentOther. Please indicate.


Learn more about CSAFE overall.Discover research CSAFE is undertaking.Explore collaboration opportunities.Find tools and education opportunities.Other. Please indicate.


YesNo