Category: Showcase

Use Pre-drawn Symbols For Faster Diagrams

crash zone symbol manager

The Crash Zone Symbol Manager toolbox showing just a few of the pre-drawn symbols.

If you are a Crash Scene Investigator, chances are you have better things to do with your time than spend hours and hours creating drawings of crash scenes. One way to really save on drawing time is to use pre-drawn symbols for commonly found objects.  Instead of trying to draw that vehicle or sign found at the scene, just select the pre-drawn symbol and drag it into place.

General purpose drawing programs may have pre-drawn symbols of furniture or trees, but they will not have many items found at a crash scene, such as vehicles, bodies, signs, or weapons. To get these types of symbols, you need a software program that is specifically for drawing crash scenes.The Crash Zone, crash scene diagramming software published by The CAD Zone, Inc., has thousands of pre-drawn symbols that are ready for you to place in all of your 2D and 3D diagrams. You can easily change any symbol’s rotation, size, and color as you place it in the diagram. Symbols can be placed at an approximate location in the drawing or snapped to an exact data point.


Photogrammetry Proves Ideal for Winter Crash Scene Mapping

The winter months bring snow to much of the United States. While this delights the school children and the skiers, it often means police officers have many more crashes to investigate than usual in terrible weather conditions. When inclement weather contributes to numerous crashes in a short period of time, investigators must do everything they can to gather all the critical evidence they need as quickly as possible.

Choosing Photogrammetry

This was the case during one December snow storm when Trooper Jeffrey Westrum of the Minnesota State Patrol was called to investigate a fatality crash involving a semi-truck and a minivan. Westrum (now Lieutenant Westrum) has been a member of the Minnesota State Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) for more than 14 years.

At the time of this crash, Westrum had a great deal of experience mapping crash scenes by taking manual measurements and using a total station. The MAIT troopers had recently been trained in the use of the iWitness™ (www.iwitnessphoto.com) close-range photogrammetry system for crash scene and forensic mapping, which is what Westrum chose to use for this scene.


Defending Your Scene Diagrams in Court

As an investigator, you may often be called upon to present your findings in the courtroom in front of a skeptical jury and an attorney who would just love to prove you wrong.  Your diagrams of the scene are an important part of your investigation and you want to make sure you can prove they are completely accurate. So, what are some rules to follow for ensuring that your methodology for preparing a diagram and diagramming the scene itself will be credible enough to withstand courtroom scrutiny?


Crash Animation Now Available To All Investigators

Traditionally, 3D animations, or movies, of the events surrounding a crash were recognized as a powerful tool to help present a case in court. However, they were so expensive to produce that they were only feasible for high-profile cases where big budgets were involved. Recently, the development of easy-to-use, accurate, software for creating animations has changed all that. It is now possible for every crash investigator to produce animations of a crash, based on the evidence they found at the scene.

Just ask Bobby Jones, Assistant Chief of the Knox County-Knoxville, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office, and a trained reconstructionist. Jones feels that animations are an important part of his courtroom presentations. Says Jones, “We’ll always need to have a static diagram to get a start (for presenting crash scene details). However, a jury these days can comprehend animation, and the retention is significantly higher than words and diagrams.” Also, Jones adds, “Anytime we can illustrate in motion, we capture the attention of the jury because juries are typically inclined to want to see technology.”

Jones uses The CAD Zone, Inc.’s Crash Zone diagramming software, one of the most popular and widely used forensic drawing software packages on the market. With The Crash Zone he can create his 2D diagrams, incorporating all the exact measurements he takes at the scene. The program contains easy-to-use tools for creating the 3D model and animations of the crash from any viewpoint.


The Crash Zone – Crash Scene Drawing Software

Whether they like it or not, Law Enforcement officers, Crash Investigators and Reconstructionists need to draw. They usually have many other things they would rather spend their time doing, but having an accurate, neat diagram of the crash scene is critical to their investigation.

Crash Zone 3D crash scene diagram

3D Crash Scene drawn with The Crash Zone

The Crash Zone drawing software (The Crash Zone web page) is the ideal tool for Crash Investigators and Reconstructionists who want great diagrams. It is easy to learn and use because it has many unique features that are specifically for drawing crashes. It’s NOT for engineers or architects or someone drawing a house floor plan. The Crash Zone is ONLY for drawing crash scenes.