Thermal Identification of Clandestine Burials: A Signature Analysis and Image Classification Approach

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Clandestine burials, the interred human remains of forensic interest, are generally small features located in isolated environments. Typical ground searches can be both time-consuming and dangerous. Thermal remote sensing has been recognized for some time as a possible search strategy for such burials that are in relatively open areas; however, there is a paucity of published research with respect to this application. This project involved image manipulation, the analyses of signatures for "graves" of various depths when compared to an undisturbed background, and the use of image classification techniques to tease out these features. This research demonstrates a relationship between ... continued below

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xii 170 p.: ill.

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Servello, John A. December 2010.

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  • Servello, John A.

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Clandestine burials, the interred human remains of forensic interest, are generally small features located in isolated environments. Typical ground searches can be both time-consuming and dangerous. Thermal remote sensing has been recognized for some time as a possible search strategy for such burials that are in relatively open areas; however, there is a paucity of published research with respect to this application. This project involved image manipulation, the analyses of signatures for "graves" of various depths when compared to an undisturbed background, and the use of image classification techniques to tease out these features. This research demonstrates a relationship between the depth of burial disturbance and the resultant signature. Further, image classification techniques, especially object-oriented algorithms, can be successfully applied to single band thermal imagery. These findings may ultimately decrease burial search times for law enforcement and increase the likelihood of locating clandestine graves.

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xii 170 p.: ill.

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  • December 2010

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  • May 4, 2011, 1:11 p.m.

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  • Aug. 2, 2011, 4:41 p.m.

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Servello, John A. Thermal Identification of Clandestine Burials: A Signature Analysis and Image Classification Approach, thesis, December 2010; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33201/: accessed August 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .