Law Enforcement goes 3D laser scanning at 3D Documentation Conference

This mornings highlight: 3D Documentation and laser scanning in Law Enforcement.

David Dustin, a US forensic expert from Dustin production presented this morning in the Andechs Abbey the usage of 3D laser scanning for many kinds of law enforcement applications. Amazing presentation!




3D Documentation Conference – from the Middle Ages into the future

Yesterday’s impressions from the workshops and brainSTORMING at FARO’s 3D Documentation Conference in Andechs – from the Middle Ages into the bright future of 3D laser scanning…

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Afternoon sessions for laser scanning experts

In the afternoon workshops of our 3D User Meeting, participants go into detail choosing from a range of themes around architecture, mobile mapping, factory design and software. Stay tuned for more in-depth content later in the day.




Great power speeches in the Florianstadl at the Andechs Abbey

Our morning at the Abbey was full of exciting stuff with 3 power speeches in the Florianstadl featuring industry experts on:

• Large 3D Scan Documentation in Retail
• Laser Scanning Gomantong Cave: creation of the world’s most complex photorealistic cave model
• An Airbus experience: 3D modelling in part environment




10 Reasons to use laser scanning for forensics

Laser scanning is rapidly gaining acceptance and becoming more and more commonplace in the law enforcement and accident reconstruction communities. Over the past few years, hardware and software have improved significantly creating a simpler, overall system to capture immense detail in a short period of time.

These are 10, of the many, reasons to consider laser scanners for a forensic application:

1) Easy to use: Many manufacturers are moving toward a simpler interface making operation of the scanner more like a digital camera than a complicated survey instrument.

2) Portability: Laser scanners are smaller in size today than ever before making them easier to deploy to a crime/accident scene and useable by just about anyone.

3) Safety: Data can be collected from a distance, with some scanners collected measurements over 300 meters away. This allows the operator to scan a scene out of harms way. In addition, laser scanners can collect up to 1,000,000 points per second with average scan times of several minutes. Less time on a scene means less time for potential danger to the individuals at the scene. Class I lasers are also being used in laser scanners creating a truly eye-safe environment during the scan.

4) Speed and Efficiency: Complete color scans can be captured in as little as several minutes creating a virtual scene with high accuracy and detail that can be revisited over and over without physically traveling to the site. In contrast to traditional methods of surveying/documenting a scene, laser scanning can be much faster and allow multiple investigators to have eyes on the virtual scene.

5) Produce a variety of deliverables: Once the scene has been laser scanned, various types of final products can be extracted or produced from the data. For example, anything from a traditional 2D drawing to a detailed 3D animation can be created from the scan data.

6) Peer pressure: With more and more agencies utilizing laser scanners for their scene documentation, the result is more widely accepted. As well as growth in expectations that future scenes will be documented in 3D.

7) Cost Effective: Laser scanners are becoming more and comparable in price to total stations which are traditionally used for documenting traffic accidents.

8) Specialized Measurement Tools: Software for forensic analysis from 3D data also now includes special tools for measuring blood spatter and bullet trajectory, witness/suspect height, etc.

9) Easy to share: More software tools are available to view and document the scan data without the requirement of installing software or purchasing additional licenses.

10) Archive the scene: Once the scene has been laser scanned it has been essentially frozen in time, preserved for future virtual visits by anyone who may wish to investigate the scene. This allows for measurements to be taken that may not have necessarily been thought to be important at the time of capture as well.

Blog post by Alex Demogines, Account Manager Laser Scanner, FARO Technologies


New powerhouse for mid-range scanning

New FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X 130 now availableThe FARO Laser Scanner X-family continues to grow: The youngest member is the Focus3D X 130. The ultra-portable powerhouse is ideal for medium-range scans.

The offspring in the X-Series is mobile and scores with a compact design and flexibility. Perfectly suited for indoor and outdoor scans.

The mobile laser scanner almost instantly generates measurement data, for example, of complex facades, building structures, and production or accident sites.

The laser eye offers reliability even in full sunlight. The integrated GPS receiver automatically ensures that the scans are properly assigned and aligned while processing.

Just last year, FARO surprised the market with the long-distance Laser Scanner Focus3D X 330, which is equipped with a range of up to 330 meters at the start.

Like its big brother, the Focus3D X 130 is as easy and intuitive to use as a smartphone. With a scan radius of 130 meters, it is an ideal companion for applications in architecture, civil engineering, facility management, manufacturing, forensics or Building Information Modeling (BIM).


3D Documentation User Meeting 2014

3D Documentation User Meeting 2014The 4th edition of the annual 3D Documentation User Meeting 2014 will take place 3-4 April at the beautiful Andechs Monastery in Germany.

It is the ideal event for professionals, who are interested in the application of 3D Documentation to improve productivity and save costs, in the following areas:

- Architecture
- Surveying
- Structural engineering
- Cultural Heritage
- Forestry and agriculture
- Mining and tunnel construction
- Processes and Manufacturing Industries
- Quality control
- Crime scenes, accident and danger zones documentation

3D Documentation is suitable for a wide range of applications: for quick and reliable recording of existing structures or damaged buildings, for surveying and archiving monuments, at archaeological excavations, in plant construction and in forensic reconstruction and much more.

Following the successful concept of the previous years, the 3D Documentation User Meeting 2014 for laser scanning and 3D Documentation will have a strong focus on:

NETWORKING – During the event there will be plenty of opportunities for the participants to establish networks, e.g. with special activities during the breaks.

LEARNING SESSIONS – Participants can expect to also find comprehensive presentations on the latest hardware and software solutions from FARO and its development partners.

POWER SPEECHES – Keynotes by renowned professionals and power speeches by industry experts deliver a real insight into the changing world of 3D documentation using the latest technologies.

WORKSHOPS – The meeting offers a strong focus on hands-on workshops to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between users and interested parties of the various systems and technologies.

3D EXHIBITION – Get to meet FARO’s 3rd party partners, who will showcase their latest 3D Documentation products on a specific exhibition area.

Take the chance to get new impressions and make new contacts. Please register here.

3D Documentation User Meeting 2014 will take place 3-4 April at the beautiful Andechs Monastery in Germany.Get to meet FARO’s 3rd party partners, who will showcase their latest 3D Documentation products on a specific exhibition area


Baselining accident reconstruction for court evidence

Baselining Forensic Evidence with the FARO Laser Scanner While new technologies are used to entertain viewers of TV crime series, the real Crime Scene Investigators are hard at work, pushing the boundaries of forensic science, documenting cases, and baselining real-world events.

This is the job of Michal Frydrýn and his colleagues at the Department of Forensic Experts in Transportation (DFET) at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague. Serving the country’s police departments or its courts, the team uses their expertise to analyse road traffic accidents. They visit the site, document the scene and submit a forensic report.

“The requirement for these reports drives our own baseline research, explained Michal. Recently, we examined the passive safety of cars specifically in relation to the protection of child pedestrians. It is a long term project that actually took us three years: we created a specialized forensic laboratory on university premises, fitted it out with appropriate equipment, including traditional measuring tools and suitable anthropomorphic test devices (crash test dummies) and then ran a programme of testing and evaluation.”

Michal explained that for the final year of the project, the DFET employed a FARO Laser Scanner Focus 3D: “The arrival of the FARO scanner means we won a substantial improvement in our baseline data and 3D documentation.”

Pushing the boundaries of forensic science, documenting cases, and baselining real-world events with the FARO Focus 3DWithin the carefully controlled laboratory environment, we accelerated a Skoda car to speeds of 10, 20 and 30kph and allowed it to strike a P6 crash test dummy. The dummy was designed to impact the car in the manner of a child and to record the effects on a child’s body. With the Focus 3D, we were able to record the whole scene and create highly detailed documentation of the deformation of the car – especially the bonnet. Using the FARO, we secured more information on the position of objects at the crash site, and more detail on the deformation of the vehicle, than was possible with the laser scanning equipment we had used previously. This increase in detail has served to add new depth to our documentation.”

As a result, this fundamental baseline data allows DETF to examine the bonnets of similar vehicles after real accidents and to determine the speed the vehicle was travelling at the time of collision with the child. Michal re-enforces this final point: ”At the accident site itself, the Focus 3D allows us to quickly document the scene with generous 3D detail to aid in the analysis, enabling our delivery of reliable, timely evidence to the courts”.

More about forensics and accident reconstruction

Request an on-site product demonstration


Architect@Work: New technology for architectural survey

FARO exhibits at Architect@work in LondonFARO UK will exhibit at the 2nd edition of Architect@Work London from 29 – 30 January 2014. This specially tailored contact day aims to reach architects, interior architects, designers and other consultants with a focus on innovation.

During this event, FARO will present the latest generation of high speed laser scanners for architecture and construction; the Laser Scanner Focus3D X 330. The innovative system is the smallest and lightest scanner currently available and is the ideal tool for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The Focus3D X 330 offers everything you might expect from a professional 3D laser scanner – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity. It offers extra-long range – 330m – integrated GPS and the advanced ability to perform scanning even in bright sunlight.

FARO will also present practical plug-in apps for the scan processing software ‘SCENE’ allowing architects to accurately analyze the laser scans in a few steps.

Besides Architect@Work in London 29 – 30 January 2014, you can also visit FARO in France:

La Halle Tony Garnier – Lyon
5 & 6 June 2014

La Grande Halle de La Villette – Paris
9 & 10 October 2014

Parc des Expositions La Beaujoire – Nantes
27 & 28 November 2014

Read more about Architects@work in London

Applications for architecture and civil engineering

Free tickets


Ensuring that a building pit does not become a money pit

Construction has changed enormously in recent years. Construction processes are becoming increasingly complex, yet they are also being completed more quickly – regardless of the scale of the project. The responsibility and the risk, especially with regard to costs, are borne by general contractors and planners. An important component of the costs is represented by the quantities of earth that accumulate and are moved during construction. They must be determined as accurately as possible in advance to be on the safe side in price calculation.

Volume calculation
The excavation of material from building pits and calculation of the quantities of earth to be moved is an area that has involved many incalculable factors until now. The previous common measurement methods were based on two-dimensional images and could only approximate the actual volumes. At best, the excavation material could be measured only at some points. In larger building projects, however, small bumps and barely perceptible rises in the ground immediately affected the quantity of earth to be moved by quite a few cubic metres – therefore raising costs significantly. 3D laser scanning using the latest devices is a precise and, at the same time, user-friendly solution in this case. The exact volumes can be determined beforehand, ensuring certainty with regard to cost that is not possible or can only be achieved with difficulty using other methods. The latest generation of laser scanning devices, such as the FARO Focus3D X 330 Laser Scanner, is compact and robust, and thus suitable for construction sites. This device weighs merely five kilograms, and it can be set up and mounted on a tripod in just a few minutes. It is almost as easy to use as a smartphone.

Ensuring that a building pit does not become a money pit

Scan data processing
The individual scans of the building pit can be assembled virtually automatically using the integrated GPS receiver and the scan processing software SCENE. To further process the scan data, it can very easily be imported into many common software applications – for example, PointCab. A precise digital 3D image of the site can be modelled in the CAD software, and this can be combined with the specified corner coordinates and the depth of the prospective building pit. Since every small rise and fall on the surface of the land is reproduced in the data, the expected volume can be determined as precisely as possible before the excavation.

Even after the excavation, 3D laser scanning can again be of great use, as it allows the actual work and the moving of the quantities of earth to be controlled exactly. To do this, the difference between the data from the original terrain and that of the excavated pit is easily determined in the 3D model. This enables accounting that exactly corresponds to what was actually done.

Conversion and contruction
3D laser scanning is increasingly in use in the building industry. It is used particularly when there are existing buildings for which only outdated plans or no plans at all exist. In conversions and new constructions, the three-dimensional data capture used provides quality assurance in the process – when used at regular intervals on the construction site the current status can be determined and documented. This allows any errors during implementation to be identified at an early stage and, as with the excavation work; the accounting can then be checked.

FARO Europe Blog

FARO’s portable measurement equipment permits high-precision 3D measurements production and quality control. Products include the measuring arm FaroArm, the personal CMM FARO Gage, Laser Tracker ION and Laser Scanner Photon.