Anyone doing Forensic Metal Detecting?

Discussion in 'General Information & Discussion' started by Trackergd, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Just starting to add this to my skill sets. New Garrett AT Pro with NES Storm search coil ordered with delivery this week. Already planning on a Minelab 3030 deep detector. Hope to be able to get a GPR unit within 4 years. Have read a ton on the subject and already know about evidence handling (from my Tracking work). Would like to hear from others.
     


  2. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    I'll add to my own thread today. I had the great honor of spending most of Monday with Donald Hinks, the owner of Gettysburg Electronics. Donald was featured on an episode of Forensic Files solving a 15 year old murder mystery by locating a shell casing. Donald is retiring in a couple of months and closing his shop (he's in his 80's), so I also took the opportunity to get additional equipment and a second specialized search coil he recommended for forensics metal detecting. He had a lot of unusual target material that we played around with such as amalgam and gold fillings. Donald has been providing forensic metal detecting for a number of Law Enforcement agencies in PA and has a number of letters and plaques thanking him for his assistance, including one from the State Police. I also was lucky to have my local State Park manager give me a metal detecting permit for the park so I can practice. Within a couple of weeks I should be getting additional forensics detecting tips from Stevie Ray of Kellyco detector sales. Stevie Ray is a Forensics detecting expert in Florida and has been doing the same work as Donald for a number of years. I sure hope this is easier and faster to learn than the 50 years it took to get really good at tracking and SAR. ;)
     
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  3. MelmothTheLost

    MelmothTheLost Well-Known Member

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    No, but:

    I believe some Minelab machines have built in GPS. However I use an app on my phone which works very well for tracking my route around a patch of land and for logging and photographing finds in situ. Since it uses Google maps as its base it should work in the US and only costs a few quid/bucks.

    http://historyhunters.co.uk/tectotrak

    The original version was for Android but there is now an iOS version as well.

    IME the accuracy is down to 1 metre, and sometimes even better, in the field.
     
  4. Gunslinging Granny

    Gunslinging Granny Well-Known Member

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    That sounds fascinating and fun. Please tell us more.
     
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  5. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Yes, the CTX3030 does have GPS. I have a Magellan eXplorist 310 which does a great job of not only giving me the coordinates, but marking the waypoint for future reference. I added the available Maps to it.
     
  6. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Forensic Metal Detecting (like regular metal detecting) takes time and practice. I have a large number of "targets", from shell casings to dental fillings that I practice with. I usually pick a field and have my daughter or friend place the targets (while recording their GPS locations) and then I go find them. We also do some deeper targets to see how far down my detector will "find" specific metallic targets. A lot of metal detectors will find metallic items, however for forensics they need to be of a higher sensitivity and have adjustable features that make them ideal for the task. Garrett makes the CSI and the CSI Pro. My AT Pro is more sensitive than either of them, and I have three specific search coils (the round thing that swings over the ground) depending on the area I am searching, how deep the targets are and how much other "junk" is in the ground. The next up the chain from the Garrett AT Pro is the Minelab CTX3030. It is higher rated in Forensics over the Garrett ATX pulse detector. And of course you can take this to even higher levels depending on how deep your pockets are. Then of course there are all the accessories, like a "Pinpointer" which is a small detector you poke around in the hole you dig to help find the target. Shovels, equipment bags, and the list goes on. The only down side I have found so far is the rather limited number of parks and land owners that will let you dig around on their property. Understandable when there are those out there who have little regard for private property and historic artifacts. I hope my work in our state park opens up more doors. I found an 1800's large cent about 8" down and turned it over to the park for them to display. A good website to look at the different video's is Kellyco Metal Detectors or any You Tube video by "Nugget Nogin" or "Aqua Chigger".
     
  7. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Just reread your post. When I noted GPR, you countered with GPS.

    GPR is Ground Penetrating Radar. There is also a resistance unit and software that also gives you a picture of what lies underground. The resistance unit is far less costly than the GPR, but more suited for large objects, voids and caves.

    Discussing GPR, when looking at cases here and the ones I actually put boots on the ground, I use a combination of Google Earth Satellite View, Topo Map Quads and GPS. In woodland searches I am looking for areas of egress, caves, man made features (mines etc) and natural features (valley's, waterways, lakes, etc). It gives me a picture of where the missing person might wander, or where an actor may take a body, depending on the case. The GPS gives me a way to mark a spot or area and the handheld leads me to the spot without all the bother of poking about.

    I have always been limited by what I find on the ground (tracking), and now am excited about moving towards also looking into the ground. Unfortunately it can be a rather costly enterprise if you want the big toys.
     
  8. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Learned something new last week. You can use a metal detector to locate a tossed cell phone that has gone dead and can no longer be pinged. The more metal content in the case, such as a Samsung 5, the better chances of locating it, even in shallow water. I am going to collect up a variety of old used cell phones and see how many I can locate in tall grass etc. Probably should figure out what are the more common "burner" phones.
     
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  9. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Got to spend another day with Don Hinks, PA local and State LE's "go to" man for forensic metal detecting. I wish I could transplant what he knows into my head. What a knowledgeable guy. I picked out a new T handle shovel that he suggested is the best style for forensics work. Have added many hours of practice. His chief complaint was that at 85 he's starting to forget stuff. Won't be long now until he's fully retired.
     
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  10. lucyjohn987

    lucyjohn987 New Member

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    Strongly agree with MelmothTheLost
     
  11. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Thanks lucyjohn. I have had some conversations with Gary Drayton (The Curse of Oak Island) and he suggested the Minelab as well. As I am now a member of the ASTM Forensics Committee, I am working on a process/procedure for verifying the depth detection abilities and calibration of metal detectors using the actual soil in the search area. Most likely it will be only applicable for Forensic work and utility location.
     
  12. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager and Footprint Tracker

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    Nokta just came out with the Invenio series of detectors that actually gives you a screen rendering of what the detector "sees" under the ground. This is pretty new stuff and parallels what GPR "sees", although by a different method. I'm waiting to see if Garrett and Minelab come out with the same technology. Six grand is a bit much.
     

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