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.

Pocket Zone Saves Officer’s Time

Sgt. Robert Davis, Natick PD is impressed with how Pocket Zone reduces the time it takes to go from the scene to a finished drawing. He comments “This is the perfect product for police officers who do crime and crash scene diagramming. It’s cop-proof and very simple to use. The ability to see the results as you shoot, especially the continuous curve function, is a real asset. I shot a scene recently with my LTI MapStar Angle Encoder. I returned to the station, hot synced it, took 2 minutes to clean it up and I was done. I saved 40% of my time or more.”

The MapStar Angle Encoder is available from Laser Technology, Inc (LTI). This device allows you to calculate a turned horizontal angle that can be referenced to any desired point or direction. It works in conjunction with the LTI laser rangefinders for complete 3D position measurements with X, Y and Z coordinates. The Pocket Zone data collection software lets an officer collect the 3D measurement data from each shot taken. The points are displayed on the screen of the Pocket PC, so your diagram is created as you shoot the points. The data is then easily uploaded to The Crash Zone where you add any final details.

Data Collector Just for Investigators

Most total station and laser measurement devices come with data collection software, but often it was created for use by surveyors. It may use language and procedures that are not familiar to a crash or crime scene investigator. The Pocket Zone software, however, is optimized to be just for law enforcement officers and crash reconstructionists.

With Pocket Zone, you can record the point data as measured by the device, draw lines, arcs, and curves, measure distances, and add text labels. You can choose from the large library of pre-drawn symbols to place items in your drawing like signs, trees, hydrants, weapons, footprints, bodies, and evidence. Automatic linetypes can be added to the drawing to show skid marks, fences, powerlines, guard rails, and more. You can also easily perform 3-point repositioning of the instrument and back-site repositioning which saves time when shooting a large scene.

As you shoot points and add details, the drawing is displayed on the screen of your Pocket PC, in full color. You can easily see if you are missing any data or have made any errors so you can correct your drawing before you leave the scene. Pocket Zone also has zoom commands so you can zoom in on small details of the drawing and an unlimited undo/redo feature that makes editing easier.

Once you are back at your desktop PC, just plug in your Pocket PC and upload your drawing. The Pocket Zone drawing file has a unique format that can be opened seamlessly in The Crash Zone. There you have all the power of a full-featured diagramming program so you can add any details, create 3D views, perform crash calculations, and create animations – all based on your accurate measurements of the scene.

Pocket Zone Data is Verifiable

Data collected with The Pocket Zone is completely verifiable. You can even generate a coordinate data text file of all your measured points. Also, points shot with the laser can never be erased so it’s not possible for someone to tamper with the data points. If you think a point was shot in error, it can be moved to a special layer and not displayed, but it remains part of the data record.

Pocket Zone has the exact same data file format as the desktop program, The Crash Zone, except for the filename extension. This means the data does not have to go through any type of conversion when it is brought into the desktop drawing program. Deputy Mark Kimsey of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (TN) appreciates that simplicity. “We shoot our points from a total station into The Pocket Zone, then bring the data straight into our desktop diagramming program – The Crash Zone. There are no conversions and no chance for errors!”

Large Number of Devices Supported

The Pocket Zone runs on both Windows CE and Pocket PC handheld computers. It is recommended that investigators use a “ruggedized” handheld computer, such as the TDS Recon®, TDS Ranger®, Topcon FC, or Panasonic Toughbook 01®. It is possible to use Pocket Zone on a standard Pocket PC, such as an HP iPAQ, but these devices are not designed for the rigors of crash and crime scene investigation.

A large number of laser measurement devices are supported. Supported devices include LTI Angle Encoder, LTI TruPulse 360, multiple TopCon GTS and GPT Series total stations, multiple Nikon NPL, NPR, and DTM series total stations, multiple Sokkia SET total stations, Sokkia E-Z Station, and the Sokkia robotic SRX5. For a complete list of supported laser devices, refer to the Pocket Zone web site.

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