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65323 Advanced Imaging and Specialist Recovery

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science: Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Description

This subject is designed to build on established fundamentals of forensic imaging to develop practical and effective skills for the capture and interrogation of imagery evidence. Students gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills about advanced principles of forensic imaging with real-world applications in forensic investigation. This includes the scientific basis underpinning digital imagery, techniques to extract measurements from images, advanced methods of image enhancement, authentication of suspected image modification, comparative analyses and principles of 3D crime scene reconstruction. This subject develops skills for the recording of complex crime scenes using advanced photographic techniques, the extraction, analysis and handling of digital images as evidence and the production of expert certificates to convey analytical conclusions. This subject equips students with the necessary skills for a career in forensic imaging, crime scene investigation and/or digital evidence.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Apply concepts related to digital image encoding, photogrammetry and imaging science
2. Employ advanced digital photography techniques to take high-quality photographs of complex crime scene under challenging conditions
3. Demonstrate forensic image enhancement skills using specialist imaging software, such as Adobe Photoshop, MatLab and/or Image
4. Identify and explain various imaging artefacts and digital indicators and their relevance in a forensic context
5. Assess digital imagery as evidence and discern information that is useful for forensic investigation
6. Prepare an expert certificate that accurately sets out details of the analysis and conclusions drawn in a tenable format

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

1 - Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application

Students will learn how to use advanced photographic and image processing techniques using digital SLR cameras and photography editing software. This is an essential skill for all forensic imaging specialists and highly useful to various other forensic disciplines, including crime scene investigation and digital forensics. Students will also learn advanced forensic imaging techniques to extract meaningful data and evidence from various types of digital imagery evidence, and to present their results cohesively in an expert certificate. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the application of their knowledge and practical skills in all assessment items and feedback will be provided during the practical and computer sessions, online activities and submitted assignments to assist student development. Students will also learn about rapidly evolving forensic imaging technologies that are seeing increasingly widespread use.

2 – Inquiry Oriented approach

During the practical and computer classes students will need to determine the best approach to recording of complex crime scenes using advanced photographic techniques, the extraction, analysis and handling of digital images as evidence and the production of expert certificates to convey analytical conclusions. Students will have the opportunity to practice and refine their problem solving skills in all assessment items 2 and 3. Feedback will be available after the practical and computer sessions and online activities to help student development.

3 - Professional skills and their appropriate application

Students will refine their professional, collaborative and independent learning skills through practicals and computer lab sessions. This subject equips students with the necessary skills for a career in forensic imaging, crime scene investigation and/or digital evidence. Students will have an opportunity to refine generic skills such as time management, problem-solving and personal organisation, and they will also work collaboratively in their practicals and computer labs. The development of these professional skills will be monitored via feedback during the practical and computer lab classes. Students will be assessed on these skills in assessment items 2 and 3.

6 – Communication skills

Due to the complex techniques taught in this subject, students will need to demonstrate skills in communicating their processes and findings to a non-expert audience. Students will develop their ability to convey analytical conclusions through the production of expert certificates. Students will develop these skills in the practical classes and be assessed on this in the practical component. Students will receive feedback on their development during the practical classes.

Teaching and learning strategies

Students will attend a series of lectures, practicals and computer labs, complemented by interactive online learning activities delivered by UTSOnline. Feedback on student’s progress will be available during the practicals, computer labs and online activities. Students will submit an assignment that will allow them to apply their learning to a realistic forensic imaging casework example to demonstrate their skills.

Lectures and online learning activities

There will be 2 hours of lectures each week. It is recommended that you attend all lectures to develop a complete understanding of the content. It is important for the students to prepare before the lectures and the practicals by using the content provided on UTSOnline. Students will engage during lectures and practicals in active learning activities (learning-by-doing) and interactive quizzes that form assessment 1. The lectures and online learning activities provide the students with the theoretical knowledge required to understand the scientific principles of forensic imaging and its role in forensic investigation, as well as concepts such as digital image encoding, photogrammetry, image authentication and digital camera functions required to complete practical tasks. During the entire Session there will be opportunities for classroom discussion and student feedback.

Practicals

Students will be working in a collaborative manner during the practicals. This subject is practice-oriented since students will spend most of their time on hands-on exercises. During the practical classes, students will work in small groups to complete a series of activities around advanced imaging of complex crime scenes. The semester is composed of three main topics where students will practice various imaging and reconstruction methods. During the first weeks, students will learn various advanced scene captures techniques, such as the use of wide angle lenses to record images of large areas, exposure bracketing to create HDR images, long exposures under low-light conditions, capture marks on semi-reflective surfaces, and painting with light. In the second part of semester, students will learn reverse projection to measure height of unknown person, as well as calculate the error rates of the measurements. The last part of the semester will be dedicated to photogrammetry. Images taken during these practical classes will be digitally processed during the subsequent computer lab classes.

Computer Labs

The practicals will be complemented by a series of computer labs, which aim to develop students’ skills in image processing and scene reconstruction using various software and tools. Four main topics will be covered. Students will firstly learn about distortions and artefact by practicing identification and isolation of various image artefacts, and characterisation of the image source based on distortions and artefacts. They will also learn how to correct perspective and lens distortions. The second part will be focused on image enhancement, such as performing image stack enhancement, colour channel isolation to reveal concealed writing and removal of repeating noise background. The third part will be dedicated to image authentication. Students will learn how to extract image metadata, identify indicators of image manipulation and perform comparisons between two similar images to detect manipulations. Finally, the last part will be focused on photogrammetry, more specifically, on how to determine camera position in 3D coordinate system, take measurement from orthographic photography with scale, print 1:1, perform vanishing point camera calibration and extract measurement from single image. Students are expected to exercise considerable diligence and independence, to strive for efficient utilisation of facilities so as to ensure maximum benefit from these resources by their learning group.

Content (topics)

  • Digital image encoding
  • Image authentication
  • Panoramic photography
  • HDR photography
  • Forensic image enhancement
  • Photogrammetry
  • CCTV analysis
  • Digital exhibit handling
  • Expert certificate authoring
  • Introduction to 3D crime scene reconstruction
  • Guest lectures from practitioners

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Online Assessment (Quiz)

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1.0, 3.0

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0 and .0

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Length:

Approx. 1 hour to complete the online test

Criteria:

Assessment will be based on advanced forensic imaging theory and correctness of response.

Assessment task 2: Practical and Computer Lab Components

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1, 2, 3

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0 and .0

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Length:

Tasks can be completed during the 2-hour computer labs

Criteria:

A full rubric will be provided on UTSOnline with specific guidelines and information for each of the below criteria.

  • Quality of image produced (e.g. exposure, framing, depth of field)

  • Adherence to a digital chain of custody

  • Quality of information (e.g. measurements, exposure conditions) that can be extracted from an image

  • Appropriate camera settings

Assessment task 3: Image Analysis Task

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1, 2, 3, 6

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

2, 3, 5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0, .0 and .0

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Length:

Approx. 5 pages, 2000 to 3000 words

Criteria:

A full rubric will be provided on UTSOnline with specific guidelines and information for each of the below criteria.

  • Correct determination of image provenance and authentication.

  • Identification of relevant imaging parameters, artefacts and factors that influence conclusions.

  • Expert certificate includes all required components as per Schedule 7 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW).

  • Appropriate layout and formatting

  • Effective communication of findings and expert opinion

Minimum requirements

You are expected to attend all practicals and computer labs. Attendance is critical to achieve the subject learning outcomes for this subject. Any assessment task worth 40% or more requires the student to gain at least 40% of the mark for that task. If 40% is not reached, an X grade fail may be awarded for the subject, irrespective of an overall mark greater than 50. You must obtain an overall mark of 50 or greater to pass the subject.