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Technical Advances in the Visual Documentation of Crime Scenes: An Overview

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2013
21 pages
This is the short version of a longer report on a comparative evaluation of three panoramic imaging technologies for crime scene documentation: the SceneVision-Panorama, Panoscan MK-3, and the Leica ScanStation C10.

Evaluation findings indicate that all three of the panoramic imaging technologies add distinct and tangible short-term and long-term value to criminal investigations. Each of the technologies enables law enforcement personnel to create more authentic representations of a crime scene compared to conventional still photography and videography. These technologies provide the added ability to virtually "walk through" a crime scene, as well as to develop multiple viewer perspectives. A primary component of the SceneVision-Panorama system is software that uses 2D photographs to generate a virtual tour of the crime scene. The Panoscan MK-3 is a specialized camera that creates a panoramic image during a 360-degree camera rotation. Unlike the SceneVision-Panorama system, this linear scanning technique does not stitch together numerous still images from an existing digital camera. The Leica ScanStation C10 is substantially different from the other two systems. It produces a 3D representation of the environment. For each system, the evaluation addresses hardware/software, cost, and training, as well as set-up calibration, data capture, data processing, and preparation of the final presentation. The systems were evaluated in an environment that simulated field operation conditions, which involved both indoor and outdoor staged crime scenes. Mock crime scenes were designed to have the most natural light possible, finite barriers, and permanent points of reference. 5 exhibits and 20 references

Date Published: August 1, 2013