We Can Help: Point Clouds

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The use of laser scans has become standard law enforcement procedure in cases involving a fatality. Specially trained police officers use expensive, precise equipment to survey every detail at the scene. The end result is a set of files containing position and color information for millions of individual points. Computer software is then used to register these points in 3d space, and display a digital twin of the scene that can be accurately measured and viewed from any perspective.

As it turns out, there is more than one way to generate these so-called point clouds. Using a drone, DSLR camera, or even a smart phone, a scene can be captured with a large number of overlapping photos. Then, with a zap of algorithmic magic, computer software aligns the photos, converts the pixels into data points, and places those points along X-, Y-, and Z-axes in digital 3D space. When done correctly, this photogrammetry process can create point clouds that approach the accuracy of those collected by laser scan.

Having a digital copy of the scene is a great tool for investigators, but also an overwhelming amount of information. The Fat Pencil team has become adept at registering, navigating, and interpreting point cloud files generated by laser scan & photogrammetry software. We can help you step inside the point cloud (sometimes even using virtual reality) and inspect all of the rich, layered information they contain. We can also add people and vehicles to visualize possible scenarios to test the feasibility of witness statements. Our ultimate goal is to help you discover and explain the story of your case without getting sidetracked by technical problems and irrelevant details.

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Yana Stannik is a technical illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio.