I just finished levels 2 and 3 of Paraben’s handheld forensics classes last week. The level 3 class, which deals with GPS, had the nice benefit of using Google Earth. I have buzzed NSA, flown over the Grand Canyon, and stared in amazement at things people keep in their back (or front) yards. However, being new to mobile forensics, I have not used it to analyze GPS units. The new version 6 is quite nice; although, quite frankly, these features may not be entirely new or specific to version 6.

But, being able to connect directly to Garmin and TomTom units is fantastic. Especially when your forensic software is acting “wonky.” Google Earth will not pull everything, but it does grab routes and tracks. This is a quick and cheap way for investigators and examiners to get a heads up of where the unit has been lately. Another neat feature is the directional arrows that are spatially plotted along a track. At a glance, you know if the track is going from a residence to Home Depot or vice versa. Of course there are other, non-forensic options like Microsoft’s Streets and Trips, but that would deprive Google of their download statistics. Plus, MS S&T is ugly.