Google Earth Forensics

Google Earth Forensics

Using Google Earth Geo-Location in Digital Forensic Investigations

1st Edition - December 9, 2014

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  • Authors: Michael Harrington, Michael Cross
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128005040
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128002162

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Google Earth Forensics is the first book to explain how to use Google Earth in digital forensic investigations. This book teaches you how to leverage Google's free tool to craft compelling location-based evidence for use in investigations and in the courtroom. It shows how to extract location-based data that can be used to display evidence in compelling audiovisual manners that explain and inform the data in contextual, meaningful, and easy-to-understand ways. As mobile computing devices become more and more prevalent and powerful, they are becoming more and more useful in the field of law enforcement investigations and forensics. Of all the widely used mobile applications, none have more potential for helping solve crimes than those with geo-location tools. Written for investigators and forensic practitioners, Google Earth Forensics is written by an investigator and trainer with more than 13 years of experience in law enforcement who will show you how to use this valuable tool anywhere at the crime scene, in the lab, or in the courtroom.

Key Features

  • Learn how to extract location-based evidence using the Google Earth program or app on computers and mobile devices
  • Covers the basics of GPS systems, the usage of Google Earth, and helps sort through data imported from external evidence sources
  • Includes tips on presenting evidence in compelling, easy-to-understand formats


Digital forensic practitioners, legal professionals, criminal investigators, computer security & forensic students

Table of Contents

    • Biography
    • Chapter 1: Google Earth Basics
      • Abstract
      • What is google earth?
      • Google Earth for Forensics
      • Flavors of Google Earth
      • Installing Google Earth on Your Computer
    • Chapter 2: Using Google Earth
      • Abstract
      • Using Google Earth
      • The Google Earth UI
      • Navigation
      • Views
      • Tours
      • Configuration
    • Chapter 3: GPS, GIS, and Google Earth
      • Abstract
      • Understanding GPS
      • Understanding GIS
      • Geo-Location Information in Pictures
    • Chapter 4: KML/XML/HTML
      • Abstract
      • Markup Languages and Google Earth
      • Using HTML in Google Earth
      • What is KML?
      • XML
      • KML revisited
      • Learning more about markup languages
    • Chapter 5: Digital Forensics 101
      • Abstract
      • What is Digital Forensics?
      • Tools for Recovering Evidence
      • Do you really want to do this?
      • Organizing your case
      • Understanding what you are looking AT
    • Chapter 6: Working a Case
      • Abstract
      • The practical application of google earth forensics
      • Acquiring from a GPS Unit
      • Annotating a crime scene
      • Views and camera angles
      • Legends, logos, and banners
      • Creating a tour of the crime scene
      • Distributing your work in google earth
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 122
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Syngress 2014
  • Published: December 9, 2014
  • Imprint: Syngress
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128005040
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128002162

About the Authors

Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a former Law Enforcement officer with over ten years of experience in digital forensics. He lectures on Mobile Forensics around the world and has been involved in various forensic projects including Pandora's Box and WOLF. Michael has been published in the Thomas J Cooley Law Journal and on Forensic Focus. He also writes on the subject of mobile forensics at

Affiliations and Expertise

Former Law Enforcement officer with over ten years of experience in digital forensics

Michael Cross

Michael Cross is a SharePoint Administrator and Developer, and has worked in the areas of software development, Web design, hardware installation/repairs, database administration, graphic design, and network administration. Working for law enforcement, he is part of an Information Technology team that provides support to over 1,000 civilian and uniformed users. His theory is that when the users carry guns, you tend to be more motivated in solving their problems.

Michael has a diverse background in technology. He was the first computer forensic analyst for a local police service, and performed digital forensic examinations on computers involved in criminal investigations. Over five years, he recovered and examined evidence involved in a wide range of crimes, inclusive to homicides, fraud, and possession of child pornography. In addition to this, he successfully tracked numerous individuals electronically, as in cases involving threatening e-mail. He has consulted and assisted in numerous cases dealing with computer-related/Internet crimes and served as an expert witness on computers for criminal trials. In 2007, he was awarded a Police Commendation for work he did in developing a system to track local high-risk offenders and sexual offenders.

With extensive experience in Web design and Internet-related technologies, Michael has created and maintained numerous Web sites and implementations of Microsoft SharePoint. This has included public Web sites, private ones on corporate intranets, and solutions that integrate them. In doing so, he has incorporated and promoted social networking features, created software to publish press releases online, and developed a wide variety of solutions that make it easier to get work done.

Michael has been a freelance writer and technical editor on over four dozen I.T. related books, as well as writing material for other genres. He previously taught as an instructor and has written courseware for IT training courses. He has also made presentations on Internet safety, SharePoint and other topics related to computers and the Internet. Despite his experience as a speaker, he still finds his wife won't listen to him.

Over the years, Michael has acquired a number of certifications from Microsoft, Novell and Comptia, including MCSE, MCP+I, CNA, Network+. When he isn’t writing or otherwise attached to a computer, he spends as much time as possible with the joys of his life: his lovely wife, Jennifer; darling daughter Sara; adorable daughter Emily; and charming son Jason.

For the latest information on him, his projects, and a variety of other topics, you can follow him on Twitter @mybinarydreams, visit his Facebook page at, follow him on LinkedIn at, or read his blog at

Affiliations and Expertise

Hospital for Special Surgery

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