Motorcycle Officer Maps Crash Scenes

Sgt. Naccarato maps crash scenes from his motorcycle

Sgt. Naccarato taking a measurement.

Not too many years ago, Sgt. John Naccarato of the Clackamas County (OR), Sheriff’s Department was using a 25-foot tape measure and a notepad to measure and record data at a crash scene. “It was really time consuming,” Sgt. Naccarato recalls. “It took a couple of guys to get the measurements and we usually had to close the road for a lot longer time than we liked.

Once he had the measurements, Sgt. Naccarato used a software program that is specifically for creating crash scene diagrams, called The Crash Zone™, from The CAD Zone, Inc, of Beaverton, Oregon. The Crash Zone has all the tools one needs to draw accurate, detailed diagrams of the scene, both in 2D and 3D. Crash Zone is highly accurate and has multiple ways for the user to draw to their exact measurements, ensuring that the final diagram is a factual representation of the scene.

‘Pocket Zone’ and LTI Allows One-Person to Map Crash Scenes

Sgt. Naccarato found out that The CAD Zone also publishes a product called Pocket Zone, an innovative program that turns a Pocket PC into a data collector that can be used with many types of laser measurement devices. Pocket Zone, when paired with a total station or other laser device, makes it fast and easy and record all 3D point and line data at crash scenes. Some systems can even be used by a single person.

Upon learning about this new tool, Sgt. Naccarato got creative. He traded his PDA for a friend’s HP iPAQ handheld PC which is compatible with the Pocket Zone software. Next, he obtained a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation to purchase an TruPulse Model 200 rangefinder from Laser Technology, Inc. This device allows him to capture slope and elevation measurements in 3 dimensions. Finally, the sergeant purchased a cable that connects the data collector to the laser, along with a monopod on which to mount his laser.

The results? Sgt. Naccarato claims he can now take all the measurements he needs at any crash scene, easily and swiftly. He no longer has to wait for a total station team to come take measurements. When he responds to a crash, he can get all the needed information and have the road opened, faster than ever before.

Data Collected is Accurate, Secure

The data gathered using Pocket Zone is saved to a proprietary .pzd file which can be opened as a diagram in The Crash Zone drawing software. Since the files are the same format, there is no need to “convert” the data, eliminating any conversion errors. Both Pocket Zone file and the resulting Crash Zone file contain the raw coordinate data and it can never be overwritten or erased, so there is no possibility of tampering with the data. Points collected in error or points  you do not wish to display in the drawing are moved to an “erased” layer where they are not displayed, but they remain part of the permanent data record.

The Crash Zone uses the 3-dimensional coordinates for each point recorded in Pocket Zone and displays the points in both 2D and 3D views. Any lines, arc, curves, symbols, and text  that were added in the Pocket Zone drawing at the scene are all brought seamlessly into Crash Zone, where other final details can be added to the diagram and crash calculations performed. The completed Crash Zone diagram is ready to present in court.

Highly Portable Solution

One more reason Sgt. Naccarato values his portable crash scene mapping equipment is that it all fits snugly inside a compartment on his motorcycle. The sergeant carries everything he needs to map the scene and get the road opened quickly.