Looking Back at the Cold Case Project
In previous articles, we wrote about the progress of the minor ‘Cold Case’, a collaboration between Icologiq Universe and Saxion University of Applied Sciences. During this minor, Forensic Research students are diving into unresolved police cases. The students have now finished their minor and presented the research results at the Police Academy in Apeldoorn. Icologiq was present as well.
‘Cold Cases’ are crimes involving murder or mysterious disappearances that took place years ago, but were never solved due to a lack of evidence. The purpose of the minor is to re-open these cases by means of open source information. To guarantee the quality of the research, the group saves all of the research data within No-Code platform Icologiq Universe, one of the first software platforms that makes it possible to automate workflows with no required coding experience. With Icologiq Universe, students can easily build their own processes, for example to identify suspects or determine the likelihood of different scenarios.
How are the students looking back at their minor? “Our ambition at the start of this project was to complete the first two research phases,” Sten says. “This goal is accomplished: we have even started the third phase. Now, what’s left to do is adding the “finishing touch” by linking the different phases to each other in Universe. This makes it easier to transfer the process to the next minor group, so that they can improve on this based on feedback.”
Because internal police information is not freely accessible, most of the research was carried out through open sources: information available to everyone. “I was surprised to find out how far open sources can take you,” says Savannah. “One of our cases, the disapearance of a farmer in Wijk bij Duurstede, took place in 1970. At this time, there was no internet or social media, which made it very difficult to find new indications. At first, our only cue was the book “My city by the water”, written by a local journalist investigating the case. We decided to visit this town and take a look at all the important places in the book. By talking to relatives, we managed to move forward with our research. These conversations with the relatives have helped me improve my communicative skills as well. If you need information from someone, it’s very important to be careful with the way you choose your words, because you don’t want to make things harder for them.”
“With Universe, you stay in control of the entire process.”
Control of the Entire Process with Icologiq Universe
The No-Code technology of Icologiq Universe makes the research process a lot faster and more efficient. “Universe has been particularly useful when it comes to data storage,” Savannah explains. “With Universe, we are able to store all of the data at one central location. The group before us erased a USB stick – in accordance with the applicable protocol after completing their minor – but unfortunately, the content was not centrally stored in a safe environment beforehand. As a result, the new groups didn’t have access to this information and we had to start all over again again. This would not have happened if all the information had been stored in Universe from the beginning.”
“Moreover, Universe enables the team leader to create an organized overview by assigning the responsibility for each task to a group member,” Sten adds. You can immediately see which tasks are and are not finished and therefore, who you should address if a task is not completed in time. That way, you stay in control of the entire process.”
Show them who you Are
Next year, Forensic Research students can choose the minor ‘Cold Case’ as well. Sten and Savannah would definitely recommend this minor. “This minor offers the chance to put ourselves out there,” says Savannah. “By presenting the results of the research at the Police Academy, you can show the police who you are. This certainly provides you with an advantage when you have ambitions for a career at the police department.”
“We are occasionally assigned fictional or solved cases during our study, but it is something else to work on an unsolved case,” Sten adds. “I would recommend for students and researchers who start working on a similar project, to take on the use of Universe from the start, by instantly entering the cases into the system. This way, you can start using the application immediately, without falling behind at the start. Once you’ve moved on with the research process, you can look into what else needs to be adjusted to improve the application.”
About Icologiq Universe
Icologiq Universe enables all researchers to program and build applications, even without coding experience. With the No-Code technology, students can leave Excel and Word behind, making the research process faster and more effective.
With Universe, students and forensic investigators can constantly maintain control over the entire investigation process and monitor quality. The system offers the possibility for the user to set it up at his own discretion and make adjustments in a fast and easy way.
Interested to learn how Icologiq Universe can contribute to your research project as well? More information can be found on their website.