Leica Geosystems Introduces NIST Traceable Targets for 3D Laser Scanning of Crime Scenes to Support ISO Accreditation

August 18, 2011 – Today Leica Geosystems announced the introduction of a new tool that definitively validates the accuracy of forensic 3-D laser scans made using the Leica Geosystems ScanStation C10.

The ScanStation C10 is an easy-to-use, compact and portable long-range 3-D laser scanner that can capture 50,000 measurement points per second and features an internal digital camera for capturing panoramic photography.  This technology is used globally by law enforcement agencies for crime scene investigation, vulnerability and threat assessments, post-blast investigation, police action inquiries, accident investigations and more.  The new validation tool is designed specifically to help crime laboratories and crime scene units achieve ISO/IEC 17020 and 17025 accreditation.

The tool builds upon Leica Geosystems’ patented twin-target pole for 3-D laser scanning, long used by police agencies all over the world to provide a simple and intuitive way for police (and jurors) to understand that the ScanStation is collecting accurate data.  The twin-target pole has a designed distance of 1.700 meters between the two targets.  To achieve National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceability, Leica Geosystems has contracted with the Large Scale Coordinate Metrology Group  at NIST to perform individual calibrations on specific Leica Geosystems twin-target poles by carefully measuring multiple times between the target centers on each end of the pole (artifact) using a wavelength-compensated helium neon linear interferometer.  NIST then applies serial numbers to each target system and generates a Report of Calibration that is provided to Leica Geosystems customers.

“It’s the 3-D laser scanning equivalent of introducing a scale into a crime scene photograph to provide a control” said Tony Grissim, Leica Geosystems Public Safety and Forensic Account Manager.  “The provable accuracy of 3-D laser scanner measurements to a known standard is key to forensic credibility in the courtroom, and our new NIST traceable twin-target pole has the added benefit of supporting the ISO/IEC requirements for quality systems and quality control.”

UPDATE: In December 2013, Leica Geosystems introduced a new quality assurance tool specifically for use with the Leica ScanStation PS20 3D laser scanner. The new NIST traceable twin-target artifact was recognized by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as leading to improved forensics. Read more here.

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