Analysis of digital data (I) (from September 2022)


Digital Data Analysis is part of De Montfort University FdSc in forensic collision investigation.

Many of the on board vehicle systems found today use a combination of accelerometers and GPS inputs, CPU's, Insurance telematics, performance computers and, to a lesser extent,digital tachographs. In this module we will be looking at the accelerometer and GPS units in a raw data format. How the data can be smoothed, graphed and used. As importantly we will start to look at when not to use the data.

What you will study

Block 1 - What is Digital Data
An overview of digital signal processing; it is one of the most powerful technologies that will shape science and engineering in the twenty-first century. Revolutionary changes have already been made in a broad range of fields: communications, medical imaging, radar & sonar, high fidelity music reproduction, and oil prospecting, to name just a few. In the field of collision investigation, signal processing started with the introduction of the single axis electronic accelerometer and the electronic digital theodolite. It is not intended that this course will to be an authoritative guide to digital signal processing.

You will be introduced to how analogue waveforms are converted to digital data, the binary number system and you will need to do revise your understanding of data sampling. You will be asked to consider differing sample rates and what the effects may be.

Block 2 - GPS
Given that so many devices these days use GPS data and some of those devices store GPS data which can be retrieved after a collision, we should perhaps try to understand a little more, how these devices actually work out where they are from a signal sent by a satellite. Devices that use GPS technology that we as collision investigators are likely to come across include, late generation digital tachographs, navigation devices and cycle computers and insurance telematic boxes typically used by young drivers. The GPS data is useful because alongside that data it often stores the speed. In this block we also look at how to present GPS data in a technical report.

Block 3 - Telematics
An introduction to the gathering of raw vehicle data. It considers in detail what an incident data recorder is, what components make up these devices and what if any variables there are there that cause its reliability to be questioned. The purpose of this is to develop a rationale for the collision investigator when dealing with the question; Is this data reliable? - There is no definitive answer and therefore much of the work in this section will be considered by you from your research.

Block 4 - Wheel speed data and tachographs
The first thing to grasp with wheel speed data is that it is really all about wheel rotation and so strictly is a measure of the distance travelled along whatever path the vehicle takes. The second essential point is that this is only true if the wheel remains in good contact with the ground. Locked or spinning wheels are obviously not going to indicate the true speed of the vehicle as a whole. We finish by covering route tracing.

Entry requirements

We assume that you hold a CertHE or have studied Applied maths to get the most from this module.

Pre-module study

Some of the maths will not have been covered at UCPD level but will have been covered in Applied maths. Some of the assessments require the use of a spreadsheets, (Microsoft Excel) thus you will need to be able to use Excel to complete the module. Click on Entry level on the menu bar and select our free Excel course.

Study method

8 weeks distance learning.

What you will need

Your joining instructions list any specific requirements.  General tools include a scientific calculator.  We recommend any Casio with a 'Natural Display'. Microsoft Excel, Apple's Numbers or similar.

Teaching and assessment

Your tutors will help you with your studies during the module.  They will mark and comment on your final exam and coursework.

Whats the qualification

This module is part of De Montfort university's FdSc in forensic road collision investigation.

How to register

The FdSc starts in September of each year. Apply through AiTS. If you wish to take this module without registering with the university you may do so however no university accreditation will be give. To take as a standalone check the calendar for the next presentation and contact AiTS.

Quick Links

Coming on a module? How to find us
Pricing information Course Price List
  Terms and Conditions

The module at a glance

Code: ENGS2005
Credits: 15
Level: 5
Duration: 8 weeks
Type: Distance learning
Assessment: Two pieces of coursework

Links to FdSc modules

Further maths
Analysis of digital data I
Analysis of digital data II
Computation and collision analysis
Motorcycle collisions
Pedestrian collisions
Vehicle dynamics - PC-Crash


AiTS have been training collision investigators in the UK and overseas since 1996. We are also the UK's main provider of Roads Policing, Prohibitions and Tachograph training in the UK and Ireland.

Social Links

Contact Us

Unit A5, Lakeside Business Park, South Cerney
Tel: +44(0)1285 864650 email: