Report Date

July 2020

Introduction

On February 27 and 28 of 2020, The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) at RTI International, convened the first meeting of the Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) Working Group for Criminal Justice Applications. The TLS Working Group (TLSWG) will support the NIJ-FTCoE’s goals of improving the practice and strengthening the impact of forensic science through rigorous technology corroboration, evaluation, and best practices dissemination.

While the use of this technology is increasing in criminal justice applications, no standardized, vendor agnostic guidelines for use are currently available for end users. The goal of the working group is to develop resources that reflect consensus-based best practices to standardize and improve the use and application of TLS in crime scene documentation and reconstruction. These deliverables will help establish a minimum standard for capture, processing, analysis, visualization, presentation, and storage of TLS data in a forensic context. These resources are intended to promote uniform implementation and use of TLS technology in practice. This will ultimately improve the practitioners’ ability to attain scientifically supportable conclusions from TLS data, ensure effective quality management procedures, and improve presentation of this information to stakeholders, including law enforcement, investigators, and the courts (e.g. prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges, and juries).

Click here to read the full Report

Resources

 

A Landscape Study of 3D Crime Scene Scanning Devices

Read More

Webinar: Utility of 3D Scanning Technologies Workshop Archival

Read More

 

Report Date

May 2020

Introduction

Impressions of shoe and tire tracks are common types of evidence found at a crime scene that be used to evidentially link a suspect to a crime or generate important investigative leads in a case. However, analysis of these footwear outsole and tire tread designs is challenging due to the variations in product design, impression quality, and surrounding environment of the impressions. Proper collection of the evidence is often limited by the crime scene investigator’s skill level, the quality of the equipment, and the amount of time available to accurately photograph and cast the impressions. Dr. Song Zhang at Purdue University is developing a 3D imaging system for footwear and tire impressions to overcome these challenges. This system is based on an optical 3D scanning system that uses a binary defocusing technique and an auto-exposure control method to capture highly detailed images.

“Purdue’s 3D scanner promises to be a game changer as it allows the fast collection of the 3D detail of impressions with minimal training.”

—James Wolfe, Alaska State Crime Laboratory, retired

Click here to read the full Report

Resources

 

Webinar: Portable Advanced 3D Imaging for Footwear and Tire Impression Capture

Read More

Forensic Science Research and Development Technology Working Group

Read More

Report Date

Updated: August 2018
Original: January 2016

Purpose

In 2016, the FTCoE published a landscape study that provides the reader with a basic understanding of 3D laser scanning instruments as well as their use, benefits, and limitations. This report was recently updated to capture technology advancements and provide successful use cases.

Report Summary

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) has become the gold standard of measurement and is the basis for 3D laser scanning technology used today in multiple disciplines that range from engineering to meteorology to medicine. A growing number of crime scene units recognize the benefits of adopting 3D laser scanning instruments to assist with bloodstain pattern analysis, shooting incident reconstruction, traffic collision data collection, and general crime scene reconstruction. 3D laser scanners offer crime scene units an excellent tool to increase the speed and efficiency of data collection. The instruments provide scientifically accurate data that enable a completely objective analysis and highly credible evidence in a court of law. Data obtained from scans document the entire scene and may provide special evidence first missed as relevant patterns or evidence not obviously visible. This landscape study provides several real-world examples and lessons learned from the implementation of 3D laser scanning instruments. The discussions captured in this study highlight the agencies’ different needs and methods for procurement, training, and implementation. Key questions to ask related to each of these areas are provided.

Click here to read the full report

Report Date

December 2013

Purpose

This report discusses the specific results of the evaluation and considerations that an agency should make when deliberating the adoption of a panoramic imaging technology.

Report Summary

Digital crime scene documentation has become an essential component in criminal investigations and the judicial process. In fact, two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) imaging technologies allow law enforcement personnel to skillfully create high-resolution, 360 degree images or data. These panoramic imaging technologies enhance the quality and organization of crime scene documentation by providing fluid, high-resolution scans with embedded photographs. Additionally, digital documentation of a crime scene provides the ability to analyze and spatially reconstruct a scene past the initial documentation phase.

Click here to read the full report