Facial mapping is a process involving the analysis and comparison of two or more moving or still facial images, often from CCTV footage but also digital or analogue photographs, and determining through the identified characteristics, similarities and resemblances whether they are of the same person. The facial mapping process uses aligned scaled images to scientifically demonstrate comparable facial features recognized within a legal context. In order for this process to be beneficial to the justice system it needs to be carried out by court recognized experts who are capable of proving or disproving identities through facial mapping and facial imaging.
Facial mapping serves to demonstrate significant areas and points of similarity between two or more images, identifies the absence or presence of specific facial features which all lead to an accurate comparison between the images used. Facial mapping serves not only to prove identity, but also non-identity.
A facial mapping expert needs to be experienced and qualified encompassing a thorough knowledge of human facial anatomy, physiology and physical anthropometry as well as detailed knowledge of photo image analysis techniques.
Three main comparison approaches are taken in the facial mapping process:
- Anthrometric (angles & distances of facial features)
- Morphological (categorising facial features based on type & shape)
- Video superimposition (Overlaying of images)