The use of laser scanning in the accident reconstruction and law enforcement communities is constantly gaining more and more respect. With hardware and software having improved greatly over the past few years, capturing great detail in a quick and simple manner has been made extremely easy.
Here are 10, of many, reasons why utilizing laser scanners for forensic applications is the right choice.
1. Ease of use: The operation of a laser scanner has become much easier with the inclusion of a simpler interface, making operating the scanner less like a complicated piece of survey equipment.
2. Safety: Data can be scanned from a distance, with some laser scanners being able to take measurements over 300m away. This means that an operator can scan whilst ‘out of harm’s way’. Furthermore, laser scanners are able to collect up to 1,000,000 points per second and have an average scan time of several minutes. This means less time with individuals at the scene being exposed to potential danger.
3. Portability: Today, laser scanners are being manufactured to be smaller in size, making them easier to deploy to a scene and useable by virtually anyone.
4. Speed and Efficiency: In as little as several minutes full colour scans can be captured, creating a highly accurate and detailed virtual model of the scene and detail which can be revisited at any time without physically going to the site. Unlike traditional methods of documenting a scene, laser scanning can be much faster and allows for multiple investigators to view a virtual scene at one time.
5. Variety: Once laser scanning of the crime / accident scene has been carried out, there are various types of final products that can be produced from the data. For instance, the end product can range from a 2D drawing to a detailed 3D animation of the scene.
6. Cost Effectiveness: Laser scanners are becoming more affordable and cost efficient in comparison to traditionally used total stations for documenting traffic accidents.
7. Future Proofing: More and more agencies are now using laser scanning technology to document crime / accident scenes and the results of these scans are more widely accepted. Also, expectations that future scenes will be documented in 3D are constantly growing.
8. Added Tools for Specialised Measurement: Laser scanning software now also includes tools for measuring blood spatter, bullet trajectory, suspect height, etc.
9. Sharing Data is Easier: More software tools are available to view and document the scan data without the need to purchase additional licenses or install software.
10. Freeze! : After the scene has been scanned it is preserved for future ‘virtual visits’ and is essentially frozen in time, allowing for further investigations. This means that measurements that may not have been considered as valuable at the time of the scan will still have been captured and will be available to view.