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Course Catalog > Crash Investigation

GPS Forensic Investigations  

As Global Positioning System (GPS) units become more readily available to the public, the data contained in them can be used by investigators to uncover specific information pertinent to many types of investigations. In this course, you will learn how these units can be the unbiased witness to driving patterns or criminal activity and how to extract the data for use in your investigation.

We will begin by discussing the history of the Global Positioning System. We will then teach you how to locate and download all available information from a GPS unit. Depending on the model and its programming, data that may be downloaded can include time, location and bearing. While this information can help you determine the average velocity at which the unit was travelling, we will also discuss other equations that can be used in GPS calculations.

During the course you will be provided with GPS units that store tracking data. Using these GPS units, you will be assigned approximately sixteen (16) different locations in the nearby area to locate. At least two students will be in each vehicle and data will be recorded on each GPS unit. This outside field project will require you to drive between 45 and 60 miles.

After the outside field project, we will examine how this specific information can be evaluated by investigators to determine pre-crash and crash information; by commercial vehicle enforcement officers to determine if drivers are providing accurate log book information; and by drug enforcement officers who may be able to determine where illegal drugs are headed or coming from.

This course will provide you with the ability to locate, download, evaluate and testify to the GPS data obtained during your investigation.

Topics Include

  • History of radio navigation
  • Technical overview of the global positioning system
  • Hands-on usage of portable GPS units
  • Garmin computer programs
  • Google Earth’s ability to work with GPS units
  • Equations used in GPS calculations
  • Commercial GPS compared to inexpensive portable units
  • Legal issues


Experienced law enforcement and private traffic crash investigators, claims adjusters, engineers, attorneys, safety officers, military investigative personnel, animators and graphic designers

Course Length

24 hours


You must have a basic operating knowledge of computers. Several computer programs and other data will be provided with the course materials that will require downloading and installation on your laptop. Due to the wide variety of laptops, you will need to know how to read hidden files on your computer.

What to Bring

You must bring a laptop computer to class.


GPS units will be provided for outside field project and classroom exercises, but the GPS units are not included in the cost of tuition. You will be asked to drive between 45 to 60 miles during the outside field project.

ACTAR Information

IPTM's GPS Forensic Investigations course is eligible for 21 ACTAR CEUs.


This course is available by contract only. For more information, contact us at (904) 620-4786 or by e-mail at