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Android Geodata

This project contains two Python modules for Autopsy, a digital forensics platform.

The modules aim to collect and display significant amounts of data through which an investigator can consider reporting whereabouts the analysed Android device has been taken.

Table of contents


The module Android Geodata Crawler is a File Ingest Module that scans all the files inside a data source and generates an XML file as a final report.

The module Android Geodata XML is a Data Source Ingest Module that extracts information from a data source considering an XML file, which represents the elements to extract, given as input.

The modules look for GPS coordinates or words related to locations, which are shown under the labels 'GPS Trackpoints' and 'Geodata in text' respectively.


An XML file is used to describe files containing geodata. Below it is shown a simple version of a valid XML file, which contains an example for every element supported so far.

        <app version="1.0">Camera</app>
                <table name="urls">
                    <column type="text">url</column>
            <app version="">twitter</app>
                <table name="search_queries">
                    <column type="longitude">longitude</column>
                    <column type="latitude">latitude</column>
                    <column type="datetime">time</column>

                <table name="statuses">
                    <column type="latitude">latitude</column>
                    <column type="longitude">longitude</column>
                <table name="venues">
                    <column type="latitude">loc_lat</column>
                    <column type="longitude">loc_long</column>
                    <column type="linked_datetime" 
            <app version="1.0">Facebook</app>
                <table name="places_model">
                    <column type="json">content</column>

Firstly, the root element in the XML has to be androidgeodata and, in general, in every element there is the subelement app which is not compulsory as the software does not parse it, it is only needed to add information about the application.

The pic element is used to collect information from pictures. It requires only the subelement path that specifies the path to the directory where the software has to look for pictures.

The db element defines a database containing geodata. It requires the subelements path and name, the latter specifies the name of the database situated in the indicated path. Knowing that some applications store the same database with a different name in various phones, it is possible to avoid to specify a complete name by using the character %. An example of this is the db element for Twitter, which names databases using different prefixes for each phone, therefore, it is possible to find the database setting as a name to look for the value %-46.db. Also, it is possible specifying the subelement tables which can contain one or more subelements table. The latter is used to define the table and the columns contained in the database where information is collected. The element table required the attribute name to specify the name of the table and one or more subelements column. This subelement needs the attribute type to specify which type of data does the column contain. The supported values are: latitude, longitude, datetime, JSON, text and linked_datetime. The latter is used to state that the datetime value is retrievable from the table specified as attribute table (This case is shown in the db element defined for the Foursquare application). In general, a column element contains text representing the name of the column. If the element tables is not declared, the software looks for geodata in all the tables inside the database.

The element file and json are used to collect information from JSON files and from files that are not either DB, pictures or JSON. They required the subelements path and name.

Finally, the element app is used to declare customised functions to examine specific applications. It needs the subelement name that represents the name of the function the software has to call, path that is the path of the directory and filename that defines the name of the file to elaborate. If the latter is not included, the software works on every file in the directory.


The dictionary is a JSON file composed of four elements: dict_num, dict_datatime, dict_str, dict_db. They represent dictionaries used for different purposes by the software with which a user can interact. An example of a simple dictionary can be found below:

        "longitude": ["longitude","lng","gps_longitude","logitude_e6",

dict_num contains two elements, latitude and longitude, which are lists representing names of columns containing geodata. As their names indicate they provide latitude or longitude information respectively. Therefore, when the software finds a possible coordinate value inside a database, it checks whether the name of the column is contained in one of the two lists making sure that the value is either a latitude or a longitude value.

dict_datetime and dict_str have the same purpose of dict_num, however, they are used to find datetime information or text related to locations.

On the contrary, dict_db is used for a completely different scope. It is needed to specify to the software which databases it has to skip. Therefore, it contains a list of databases' names.


In order to add the modules on Autopsy, it is only required to copy a directory containing the files' project into the directory retrievable from Tools --> Python Plugin,

Stanford CoreNLP is a library used in this work to verify whether a word or a text is related to locations. It requires running a local server to which the software sends the value to be analysed. The command used to run the local server is:

java -mx5g -cp "./*" edu.stanford.nlp.pipeline.StanfordCoreNLPServer

The Android Geodata Crawler expects that the server is running on To specify whether the module has to use the library, there is a flag named Stanford coreNPL to set before running the File Ingest Module.


In order to modify the XML file and JSON dictionary, it is possible to edit the provided ones or create new ones. The important thing is that they have to be in the main directory.

The results are shown in the results view area and it is possible to select a single artifact, read information about it, extract it, etc. The results can be plotted on Google Earth going on Generate Report and selecting Google Earth/KML.

The idea of having created two different modules is to use them in a way that the Android Geodata Crawler looks for geodata generating reports. After the analysis of the results and the reports, the latter can be improved and given as input to the Android geodata XML in order to better keep only valid information and plot it on Google Earth. Another scope of the XML module is to scan a data source using XML reports shared by the community.


This project is under the MIT License.

See the file LICENSE.