An intuitive user experience, easy access to practical tools, and a scalable approach make Map360 v4.0 a solid software for every user requirement, from basic crime scene diagramming to advanced reconstruction.
Reviewer: Special Agent Scott Kraft, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation
Version tested: v4.0 beta release
Where it shines: “Body poser is a feature I’ve waited for since we first began using Map360 software.”
Where it needs improvement: “I would like to see a better symbol library. The 3D Warehouse requires a few extra steps.”
The bottom line: “This has to be the best release yet. The majority of our scenes will use the body poser feature to show an accurate reconstruction of the scene. Map360 was a quality product prior to this, but the newest version definitely adds a lot of appeal to the software in terms of ease of use.”
Overall Rating: 4.75 stars
Crime scene investigation requires an easy way to create full-featured diagrams and evidence reports for case files and court presentations. But easy isn’t necessarily what investigators expect when pulling multiple types of scene data into diagramming software.
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which uses a combination of total stations and laser scanners for scene documentation, has been using Map360 scene diagramming and reconstruction software since 2018 and had experience with its predecessor, MapScenes, dating back to 2009. Previous versions of the software were robust but better suited to intermediate or advanced users. When Special Agent Scott Kraft had the opportunity to try a beta version of Map360 v4.0, he was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use. “This version is the greatest improvement to an already great software program,” he says. “It is very user friendly for crime scene reconstruction.”
Easy Access to Useful Tools
Map360 developers focused heavily on functionality for the new release, and this attention to detail is evident in the extensive menu of practical and easily accessible tools.
Room drawing tools enable you to easily build an indoor scene by drawing walls with doors, windows and openings. Walls are automatically trimmed as you draw, and grips allow you to easily and dynamically move, edit and resize objects. An articulated body symbol allows you to easily match up the body position to the scene.
Bullet trajectory analysis tools help you establish accurate details and convergence to easily determine point of origin. The software provides 2D and 3D views of trajectory lines and cones and dynamic labels that automatically update to face the camera view when you move within the scene. Adjusting the length, tolerance, and direction of the trajectory cone after it has been drawn is easily done with the use of grips.
Additionally, validated bloodstain pattern analysis tools available directly within the software help you easily calculate the area of origin for impact patterns at crime scenes.
“The update makes a better variety of tools accessible with an easy click,” says Kraft. “The menus are much simpler to use and easily customizable. I really like how the tool palettes have been expanded.
“I diagram a lot of homes for crime scenes,” he adds. “The tool palette including walls, doors, and windows tabs make diagramming very easy. Body poser is a feature I’ve waited for since we purchased this software, and I am looking forward to using the BPA analysis and bullet path recon.”
Scalability for Different Needs
Kraft, who classifies himself as an intermediate user of Map360, produces 2D and 3D diagrams and evidence reports in the software, as well as LGS files from scan data. He primarily uses Map360 to import point cloud files and construct diagrams for court. He has also done a full laser scan of a school to give officers a file they could view from their vehicles in case of an incident. The scan data, captured with an RTC360, included over 90 scan positions. The Map360 software can easily import the LGS scan data to construct a diagram of each classroom, if needed.
But what Kraft appreciates about the software is that it isn’t limited to intermediate users and complex reconstructions. “Officers will be able to create a simple 3D drawing or a fully animated scene,” he says.
That level of scalability makes it a practical consideration for any agency.