This is a summary report of the first meeting of the Terrestrial LIDAR Scanning (TLS) Working Group for Criminal Justice Applications (TLSWG), which met on February 27 and 28 of 2020.
Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light. TLS scanning devices acquire complex geometric data that captures a three-dimensional representation of a scene; this technology is used in criminal justice applications, such as documenting a crime or crash scene. Although the use of this technology is increasing in criminal justice applications, no standardized, vendor agnostic guidelines are currently available for end users. The goal of the TLSWG is to develop resources that reflect consensus-based best practices that standardize and improve the use and application of TLS in crime-scene documentation and reconstruction. This will assist in establishing a minimum standard for capture, processing, analysis, visualization, presentation, and storage of TLS data in a forensic context. The objectives of the first TLSWG meeting were to brainstorm community needs and challenges and identify work products that could assist in achieving these goals. The meeting focused on 1) the identification of challenges and key community needs related to equipment procurement, calibration, and validation; 2) data capture and relevant training; and data processing, management, and reporting. TLSWG members include forensic practitioners and researchers with extensive backgrounds in crime-scene documentation and reconstruction, as well as experience in providing expert testimony on bloodstain pattern analysis and trajectory reconstruction. The working group includes representatives from federal, state, county, and local systems, as well as representation from the Crime Scene Subcommittee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees and the Forensic Science Research and Development Technology Working Group.