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Investigators get 3-D crime scanner

crime_scene_mgmt1_2405By Guillermo X. Garcia Express-News

Bexar County’s criminal investigators soon will have cutting-edge help as they comb through crime scenes: a 3-D, computerized laser scanning system.

County commissioners approved the $207,000 purchase Tuesday.

“This is state-of-the-art equipment,” said Jose Treviño, the Sheriff’s Office homicide supervisor. “This will provide much more accurate data, and much quicker, to investigators at the scene.”

The system, which will be operational by March, takes a 3-D electronic photograph that plots objects in a 360-degree scan.

The unit “will all but eliminate human error” when it comes to measuring and plotting crime scene evidence, Treviño said.

“Eliminating the human error means you’ll have much greater chance that evidence won’t be missed,” he added. “It also guarantees much more accuracy in documenting the evidence’s location.”

Law enforcement officials say they plan to use the tool to probe major incidents, such as bank robberies, homicides and large-scale traffic accidents.

The Leica Geosystems scanner the county is purchasing is similar to but newer than scanners used at Fort Hood to gather evidence in the shooting massacre that killed 13 people last month. A similar device also was used to reconstruct the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007.

Under a regional contract, surrounding counties and municipalities also will have access to the equipment, said Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz.

In other business, the commissioners were briefed on a project that will allow county residents to electronically request and track work orders for repairs to roads, sidewalks, bridges, signs and drainage structures.

Once operational, residents can access the Public Works Citizens Request Portal to create an electronic work request. The system also will provide status reports on all pending projects on a given street or in a neighborhood, said County Engineer Renee Green.

She said the public will be able to access the program starting Jan. 4.

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Leica Geosystems HDS Announces New 3D Laser Scanning Software

Leica Geosystems announces three new laser scanning software products for scan data import, forensic scene mapping, and modeling complex 3D surfaces. Combined, these products increase the breadth and depth of laser scanning software solutions available from Leica Geosystems.

A new, standalone Cyclone IMPORTER module is part of the separately announced, enhanced Cyclone 7.0 software suite. This new “open systems” module enables the direct use by Cyclone of scan data. Direct import of native data formats avoids conversion steps to neutral formats that can be time consuming and that are generally not as efficient for downstream data processing. Overall, it lets users of scan data from 3rd party scanners take better advantage of the broad capabilities in the Cyclone suite of software.

Cyclone IMPORTER module

ForensicMap Pro, developed by MicroSurvey, is available exclusively from Leica Geosystems. It builds on the strength of MicroSurvey’s existing software for mapping forensic scenes and incidents and takes advantage of Leica’s point cloud engine technology. With the addition of point cloud processing capabilities in mapping software specific for them, forensic professionals can now take further, direct advantage of the richness and completeness of 3D High-Definition SurveyTM data for forensic investigations, a high growth area for laser scanning.

Leica ForensicMap Pro software

3DReshaper software, a powerful, standalone software for working efficiently with large, complex meshes and comparing them against designmodels, has been added to the suite of point cloud processing software directly available from Leica Geosystems. Developed by Technodigit SARL, a Hexagon company, 3DReshaper enables users of laser scan data to create smooth surface models of very complex 3D geometry surfaces. This capability is especially useful for laser scanning applications involving heritage, archaeology, architecture, ship hulls, and terrain mapping among others. Hexagon is also the parent company for Leica Geosystems.

For more information please visit www.leica-geosystems.com/hds