Category: Laser Measurement

Bergen County, NJ Fatal Crash Unit Appreciates CZ Point Cloud

For more than 12 years, the Fatal Accident Investigation Unit (FAIU) of the Bergen County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office used The CAD Zone’s Crime Zone software to document crime and crash scenes. When the agency acquired a Leica ScanStation C-10 laser scanner the investigators tried using the point cloud software that was included with the scanner. They found that they could easily scan a scene, but they struggled with creating courtroom-quality diagrams from the resulting point clouds.

Detective Andrew Rich, a 14 year veteran of the Bergen County FAIU (now retired), evaluated The CAD Zone’s CZ Point Cloud software and he quickly determined it was ideal for creating crime and crash scene diagrams from scanned data. He appreciated the many tools included in CZ Point Cloud that are specifically for generating 2D diagrams – which are critical for most investigations. Only CZ Point Cloud makes it easy to work within a point cloud and accurately select the evidence points you need to build both 2D and 3D diagrams.

Pocket PC Data Collector Ideal for Mapping Crash Scenes

Pocket Zone data collector

Pocket Zone on a TDS Recon

There is plenty for the investigator to do at the scene of a major crash, not the least which involves taking many precise measurements of vehicle locations, debris, skid marks, and other evidence. These measurements are critical in reconstructing the crash and creating the detailed diagrams of the scene that may become part of a courtroom presentation. In years past, taking and recording all the necessary measurements could require multiple officers and take hours of time, resulting in long road closures.

One advantage investigators have today is the availability of laser measurement systems and total stations that can streamline the process of taking these measurements. The Pocket Zone™, data collection software, is used by the officer to capture all the measurements at the scene. Back at the office, the 3D point coordinates are uploaded into The Crash Zone™,crash scene drawing software, where the final diagram is completed. This technology greatly speeds up the process of mapping a crash and diagramming the scene. Some equipment can even be operated by a single officer.

Turn Your Measurements Into Diagrams

Sometimes a quick sketch on the back of a napkin is good enough, but that’s just not going to work if you are investigating a crash or crime scene. When you’re preparing a case, especially one that may end up being presented in court, you need diagrams and animations that depict an accurate representation of the scene.  You may spend a great deal of time at the scene taking measurements and documenting every detail. What is the best way to turn those measurements into accurate diagrams?

The Crash Zone and The Crime Zone have more ways than any other program to accurately turn your measurements into 2D diagrams, 3D models, and animations. Whether you are taking measurements manually with a tape measure, shooting points with a total station, or using a 3D laser scanner, you can create courtroom-ready case materials that you know are completely accurate.

Summit County Sheriff Deputies map a crash scene with their total station.

Measurements From Laser and GPS Devices

Many crash and crime scene investigators now have access to a total station or other laser measurement devices, like those available from Laser Technology, Inc. These devices normally take special training to learn to use, but they allow you to collect measurements of a scene much faster and more accurately than you can with manual methods. While collecting and recording accurate measurements is critical, you still need an easy way to turn those measurements into a 2D or 3D diagram and maybe even into a 3D animation.