Anatomy of a Killing: A case study

Open source investigator at BBC Africa Eye Ben Strick says the important thing about The Anatomy of a Killing is that it shows the power of collaboration across departments and professions.

“A lot of the time people silo information and keep it to themselves. We reached out, we crowdsourced, and this is the powerful product that comes out of that,” says Strick.

The open source tool Bellingcat investigators used to find out when the video was shot is SunCalc. With it they were able to determine that the murder was carried out between March 20 and April 5 2015. ​

SunCal shows the sun's movement and sunlight phases during the day at a given location. This allows you to see sun positions at sunrise, a specific time time during the day and at sunset. ​

SunCal and a lot more other tools are available in the Bellingcat Online Investigation Toolkit. It's a Google doc with links to open source tools for satellite and mapping services, verifying photos and videos, data visualisation, company registries, etc.

The toolkit includes notes on the pros and cons of using some of the tools. Bellingcat's Online Guides are also designed with beginners in mind and break down how the tools were used with impact in some investigations.

An important benefit that comes with using these tools is the potential to shorten the length of investigations. There are also fewer fights with editors about a budget and resources for investigations.

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