Data aggregation and preparation are tasks an investigator needs to perform before any analysis. When data is properly prepared, the investigator gains an understanding and insight into the criminals’ method of operation. This is an important concept: preparing the data means that the map or model is built right. Preparing the investigator means he or she is gaining insight into the crime, ensuring that the right map and model are built. Having a forensic strategy starts with identifying a need and making correct, appropriate, and informed decisions about how to construct the right map, model, and analyses. The investigator needs to start by defining crimes or fraud in a precise way:
What crime is being committed?
How was the crime detected?
When did the crime take place?
Where did the crime take place?
How often does the crime occur?
How much is the crime costing?
What criminal clues need to be investigated?