The latest edition of SoleMate, Foster + Freeman's footwear database, contains details of approximately 30,000 sports, work and casual footwear. Its purpose is to identify footwear from prints recovered from scenes of crime and it may be used as a stand alone system or with SICAR, the company's footwear evidence management system.
Each record in SoleMate contains the footwear's manufacturer, the manufacturer's reference for that item, the date of its release on to the market, an image or off-set print of the sole, several pictorial images of the footwear's uppers to aid recognition, and a set of pattern feature codes that facilitate search and match operations. Where different manufacturers have used the same sole unit (a common practice), all relevant SoleMate records are linked, to allow the operator to consider all of the footwear that might have been responsible for the crime scene print.
To use the database, the scene of crime footwear print is first assigned a set of pattern feature codes, a simple procedure that requires the operator to identify a number of elemental pattern features, such as circles, diamonds, zigzags, curves, blocks etc. As there are a variety within each type, a number of options are presented, as images, for the operator to select the best match. The codes assigned to these pattern features form the basis of the database search. The results of a search are then presented in descending order of pattern correlation for the operator to examine visually.
SoleMate is continually updated and distributed to subscribers every three months on DVD.