Near Surface Geoscience Conference and Exhibition 2019

The World's Most Significant Near Surface Event

8 - 12 September
The Hague, Netherlands
Call for papers


8 September 2019

Workshop 1: Geophysics for Geohazards


Hansruedi Maurer (Chair - ETH Zurich)

Elmer Ruigrok (KNMI/ Utrecht Univ.)

Maarten Vanneste (Norwegian Geotechnical Institute)

Nori Nakata (Univ. of Oklahoma)

Workshop 2: Benchmark Testing for GPR


Antonis Giannopoulos (Edinburgh Univ.)

Workshop 3: Forensic Geophysics


Coen Nienaber (Dutch Forensic Institute)

Alastair Ruffell (Queens University Belfast) 

Jamie Pringle (Keel University)

Workshop description:

The intention of the workshop “Forensic Geophysics – Data as Evidence” is to provide an opportunity to consider all aspects of the forensic use of geophysics.

The workshop aims to bring together Geophysicists from academia and industry, Academics and Researchers in the fields of Geophysics, Engineering and Forensic Science, Crime Scene Investigators (CSI’s), Forensic Archaeologists and Anthropologists and Forensic Consultants and Law Enforcement personnel that use geophysics for case investigation and searches for clandestine graves and buried and hidden objects, as well as Unexploded Ordinance (UXO).  Forensic applications of geophysics when searching for hidden and buried objects and bodies, clandestine- and mass graves, missing persons and -military personnel, humanitarian cases and water searches will be included. The workshop will encompass all geophysical methods and techniques that have a potential forensic application, but will focus on the most commonly used methods such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT) and various suitable Electromagnetic methods (EM), but is also open to new and novel techniques and methods that may be useful in/applicable to forensics.

The theme of the workshop not only entails the application of existing, or new and innovative, geophysical methods and techniques to forensics, but also the integration of such techniques into legal case work. The workshop sets out to facilitate knowledge transfer and discussion on the use of geophysical data, or survey results, as evidence in court. The possibilities and potential of innovative new techniques and existing applications will be considered within the forensic or law enforcement frame of reference. The workshop will attempt to scrutinise the integration of geophysics with the requirements of validity and reliability for legal case work, the procedural specification of chain-of-evidence for data capture and storage, case investigation protocols and the legal stipulations to be met when presenting data and conclusions based on this data in court. The exchange of ideas between the preconditions for the judicial use of data as evidence with the limitations and potential application of innovative geophysical techniques and methods is important to develop suitable forensic case applications and use during forensic investigation. This two-way conversation between forensic users of geophysics and researchers in existing and innovative new geophysical approaches, techniques and methods will form the basis for deliberations. The workshop will explore ways to improve the investigative strategy for case investigation that includes geophysical techniques and methods, the gathering of data at the crime scene or search area, dealing with data as evidence and the robustness and legality of conclusions based on such data when used as evidence in court.

The workshop is inviting contributions from academia, industry and forensic users addressing the application of geophysics to judicial investigations. Innovative uses of existing technology and potential new techniques and methods will be deliberated over in the form of (15 minute) oral presentations and posters( with a 5 minute presentation of the content). After each oral/poster presentation there will be opportunity for questions and discussion during this part of the workshop.

Case studies are invited as potential contributions to form the basis for the practical part of the workshop. Case studies are to be submitted along with data and information from the investigated case. During the practical (hands-on) part of the workshop these cases will be (re-)evaluated with reference to desktop analysis of the suitability of the methods used, the data acquisition strategy and workflow, potential other and/or additional techniques that would have contributed to the investigation, data capture and -storage procedures used in the case under discussion, in-field and post-processing of data and the use of the data as evidence in the conclusions of the case. Up to three suitable case studies will be included in this practical part of the workshop. Participants will have the opportunity to consider the case and data from the case in terms of the choice of methods and techniques based on the available tactical information as well as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data on geology, soil type, terrain and environment, the specific equipment used and how this equipment was set-up, calibrated and employed, data acquisition and the use of grids and Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS and D(differential)GPS) in the case, in-field and post-processing of data by means of different software and process flows and the interpretation and modelling of data and results and how this was presented as evidence. The aim is to share as much practical knowledge and actual experience on searching for hidden and buried evidence in the most practical and robust way while ensuring the best results and the handling of data so that it is suitable as evidence.