A student is preparing tools for data visualization for forensic scientists. Facilitates investigations

Kristína Zakopčanová

Experts from the Faculty of Informatics and the Department of Computer Science assume that police officers put together a lot of sources and diverse information during the investigation. They have a number of isolated tools for this, which do not cooperate with each other.

Kristína Zákopčanová, a PhD student at the Faculty of Informatics at MU, comes into daily contact with the impenetrable police environment. Thanks to a project funded by the Ministry of the Interior and run at the MU Institute of Computer Science, she is helping to devise a system for data visualization that can be used in criminal investigations.

When one hears about Kristína's work for the first time, one will inevitably remember all sorts of crime TV series. The young PhD student herself is holding back these ideas a bit.

"At first I did not notice it at all, and only later, when we talked to the police, did I realize that we were really proposing something that would be used in the investigations. Do not imagine anything wild though. The police just tell us what they have to, no details and no confidential information at all", laughs Kristína, who enjoys the whole thing mainly because she does something that will really make people's job easier. Moreover, in a rather fundamental sphere of life.

It would not have occurred to Kristina that she would come across something like that for example in the bachelor's program. In her bachelor's thesis, she dealt with a topic that she later realized she did not even enjoy. So, she looked for something completely different that she would like to pursue even in her spare time.

Kristina had previously been interested in the work of Barbora Kozlíková from the Department of Computer Graphics and Design. She arranged a consultation with her at a coffee shop, which was the beginning of their cooperation. It was Kozlíková who involved Kristína in the project for the Ministry of the Interior, led by Tomáš Rebok.

Experts from the Faculty of Informatics and the Institute of Computer Science at MU assume that police officers put together many sources and various information during the investigation. They have a number of isolated tools that do not work together, and some already have more modern and effective variants.

"Our goal is to map exactly what their needs are, what we could help them with, and to propose the most effective solution," says Kristína, who is specifically in charge of the forms of visualization of the obtained information. "It can be data about individuals, events, field work information or bank reports. All this can be organized into one system and presented in a visual form, so that one can suddenly see connections that were not obvious before.”

Kristína has been working for police for some time. In June she handed in her master’s thesis, which recapitulates her work. Naturally, she has gone through a process that everyone who is trying to combine two hitherto unconnected fields must go through: One party wants to improve their work and they want it desperately, but they do not know what the possibilities are. The other party, on the other hand has no idea what the work of the former is like, and therefore what exactly can be offered. In this case, the IT experts overcome it with a lot of joint meetings, presenting ideas and constantly redrawing them.

"Every time we throw something in the trash, we come up with another important topic that we have to deal with somehow," Kristína notes. The data compilation needs to be addressed , who will have access to it, how to mark information that is not yet 100% reliable, or how the results will be exported to other law enforcement agencies. However, the specific form of the result, which could be a program that all police officers will have installed on the computer, will no longer be the task of the faculty researchers. They will provide know-how on what everything should look like.

Kristína herself admits that she used to be annoyed at work at times, that the ideal result cannot be suggested right away, but it must be done by gradual steps and discarding older, not entirely suitable variants. "But after those few years, I take it that it is the normal part of my job, part of discovering and that nothing is completely wrong. If we throw something away, it means that through the process we have been shown a better way."

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