The use of drones in law enforcement and public safety is on the rise. A fast and effective way to gather high-resolution imagery from crime and crash scenes, drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are easy to use for both situational awareness and gathering photographs that can assist in analysis and courtroom presentations. They provide the ability to capture raw data for orthomosaic maps that are detailed, accurate and geometrically correct, and modern photogrammetry software makes it easy to convert images into digital evidence. These and other benefits make them an attractive tool for many public safety agencies, with one catch—most forensic diagramming software cannot handle the import of large orthomosaic images and state plane coordinate systems.
Agencies that want to augment their diagrams with data from terrestrial laser scanners, total stations or GPS receivers face an even bigger challenge in combining data from multiple sensors. Is there an easy way to use drone images, alone or in conjunction with other data, to create court-ready factual diagrams?
Andrew Klane of Forensic Mapping Solutions Inc. (FMS) has spent the last several years exploring the use of drones to create aerial forensic maps of crash scenes, crime scenes and critical incidents. A retired Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant, Klane developed and implemented the state’s drone program while he was commander of the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (CARS), and he has continued pushing the envelope as a technology sales, training and implementation consultant. Through extensive real-world experience, he has identified a proven workflow that agencies can use to quickly and easily create accurate scene representations from drone imagery and other sensor data. “Using mapping software with a CAD engine is key,” he says. “A CAD engine can easily handle large orthomosaic images from commonly used photogrammetry software like Pix4D, and it also ensures data integrity and accuracy. The workflow is remarkably easy, and it produces evidentiary-grade work that will stand up in court.”
Klane recently demonstrated the workflow with Map360 crash and crime drawing software in a webinar and Q&A session. Fill out the form above to watch the on-demand webinar.
To learn more about using drone imagery and other sensor data to create accurate scene diagrams, please contact us.