Presentation Title

Cabanatuan POW Camp: A Case Study for Using Data Visualization to Improve the Identification Process of Commingled Remains

Presenter Information

Jasmine SmithFollow

Advisor Information

Sachin Pawaskar

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

26-3-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

26-3-2021 12:00 AM

Abstract

Since 1945, the Cabanatuan project has been an ongoing effort to identify World War II prisoners of war (POWs) held captive at Cabanatuan Prison Camp from 1941 to 1942. Over 75 years have passed since the remains were exhumed from Cabanatuan Cemetery and over 1000 POWs have yet to be identified. Commingled remains, the intermixing of remains from more than one individual, has been the biggest challenge in the identification process for many forensic anthropologists at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). As high death rates plagued the camp, it resorted to common graves, which are ten by six-foot grave plots designed to hold multiple bodies, to bury the fallen. This led to the commingling of remains and many inconsistencies within the documentation, hindering the process of identifying POWs. Past methods used to track findings include basic applications like Microsoft Excel and Word, which have proven insufficient for handling the unique challenges the project presents. This research will support the national obligation of ensuring a timely and accurate identification of missing personnel by improving the identification process of commingled remains through the use of interactive visualization. Research shows that data visualizations are powerful tools for processing information faster than text alone. An interactive visualization user interface was created that provides forensic anthropologists with capabilities to map and explore Cabanatuan data in different and multiple dimensions, identify patterns in reported dates of death and grave plot locations, boost productivity and expedite the return of POW remains to loved ones.

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Mar 26th, 12:00 AM Mar 26th, 12:00 AM

Cabanatuan POW Camp: A Case Study for Using Data Visualization to Improve the Identification Process of Commingled Remains

Since 1945, the Cabanatuan project has been an ongoing effort to identify World War II prisoners of war (POWs) held captive at Cabanatuan Prison Camp from 1941 to 1942. Over 75 years have passed since the remains were exhumed from Cabanatuan Cemetery and over 1000 POWs have yet to be identified. Commingled remains, the intermixing of remains from more than one individual, has been the biggest challenge in the identification process for many forensic anthropologists at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). As high death rates plagued the camp, it resorted to common graves, which are ten by six-foot grave plots designed to hold multiple bodies, to bury the fallen. This led to the commingling of remains and many inconsistencies within the documentation, hindering the process of identifying POWs. Past methods used to track findings include basic applications like Microsoft Excel and Word, which have proven insufficient for handling the unique challenges the project presents. This research will support the national obligation of ensuring a timely and accurate identification of missing personnel by improving the identification process of commingled remains through the use of interactive visualization. Research shows that data visualizations are powerful tools for processing information faster than text alone. An interactive visualization user interface was created that provides forensic anthropologists with capabilities to map and explore Cabanatuan data in different and multiple dimensions, identify patterns in reported dates of death and grave plot locations, boost productivity and expedite the return of POW remains to loved ones.