Author Topic: Real-time Data Mapping in South Carolina  (Read 24142 times)

Bob Galvin

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Real-time Data Mapping in South Carolina
« on: September 19, 2011, 04:06:08 PM »
-by Robert Galvin

The skills and experience of a crash scene investigator are, without question, essential. Still, like a surgeon racing to save a seriously injured patient, the tools used by the crash investigator are as vital as his training. No wonder. Both of these professionals are always fighting one element of not always on their side: time.

Retired South Carolina Highway Patrol Corporal Dave Marthers knows just how vital the technology that he uses to document crash scenes is. As a former member of the highway patrol's Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, he probed a multitude of crash scenes. And, as always, there was pressure to map each scene rapidly and re-open partially closed roads clogged with anxiously waiting drivers.

Marthers, now a private reconstructionist, trusts his tools of choice---a Leica TCR307 reflectorless total station and MapScenes Evidence Recorder software--to address these issues after mapping several challenging crash scenes.

Mapping Points Between Moving Cars
For example, Marthers recalls mapping a crash scene once on Interstate Highway 75 in Atlanta, Georgia. "We had a lot of evidence in the middle of the roadway, but we couldn't get out there (to measure the scene) because there was so much traffic," he said. Luckily, Marthers could map the evidence from a distance using his reflectorless total station. Standing on a shoulder of the highway opposite the crash scene, he had to time his total station shots to capture evidence points in between moving cars. Yet sometimes the total station's beam would hit a car, not the evidence.

Evidence 'Displayed On-Screen' While Shot
The MapScenes Evidence Recorder data collection software that Marthers was using accelerated the mapping process because points and line work were being displayed on-screen as he shot. So, there were no missed points. "With this software, I could see an evidence point where it should not be," Marthers reflected. "Before using this software, you didn't see where you had an error until you returned to the office and downloaded the evidence points. If errors had shown up, you'd have to go back and reshoot the scene," he added.

Safety Reinforced
The MapScenes EVR software's quick setup, pop-up 'smart menus' allowing rapid access to information and settings, and automatic saving of all measurement data all contribute to saving precious time at crash scenes while ensuring accurate, complete evidence documentation.

We all know how vital it is for investigators to measure and map complete evidence at crash scenes, particularly if fatalities have occurred. The less time all of this requires, with the help of total stations and software like EVR, the quicker roads can be reopened. And that means increased safety for both investigators and anxious motorists.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 08:34:11 AM by Bob Galvin »