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ICPUTRD: Image Cloud Platform for Use in Tagging and Research on Decomposition

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2019
17 pages

The proposed objective of this research was to provide a searchable, user friendly photographic image collection of the human decomposition process that is annotated with forensics-relevant terminology and statistics to enable research collaboration for qualified forensic scientists.


The Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is home to the Anthropology Research Facility, where human decomposition has been studied since 1981. Since 2012, multiple photographs of each donor (approximately 70 donors at any given time) have been processed daily from the time received until skeletonization. To date, the collection contains about a million photographs of approximately 400 donors. The current project had three goals. One goal was to develop a nomenclature of standard tags (labels) commonly used in the medicolegal community to facilitate search and statistical modeling of human decomposition. A second goal was to establish and implement an architecture for a collaborative platform for research on the large collection of images. The third goal was to evaluate the collaborative platform by implementing computer-assisted tagging of a large set of images. These three components of the project served the overall goal of establishing a cloud-based, easy-to-use collaborative image analysis and annotation platform for use by forensic researchers. The collaborative platform with its source code is available to the law enforcement and scientific communities. There have been requests to assist in deploying it in other labs. 3 figures, 1 table, 13 references, and a list of scholarly products

Date Published: September 1, 2019