Journal article Open Access
A valuable aspect during crime scene investigation is the digital documentation of the scene. Traditional means of documentation include photography and in situ measurements from experts for further analysis. Although 3D reconstruction of pertinent scenes has already been explored as a complementary tool in investigation pipelines, such technology is considered unfamiliar and not yet widely adopted. This is explained by the expensive and specialised digitisation equipment that is available so far. However, the emergence of high-precision but low-cost devices capable of scanning scenes or objects in 3D has been proven as a reliable alternative to their counterparts. This paper summarises and analyses the state-of-the-art technologies in scene documentation using 3D digitisation and assesses the usefulness in typical police-related situations and the forensics domain in general. We present the methodology for acquiring data for 3D reconstruction of various types of scenes. Emphasis is placed on the applicability of each technique in a wide range of situations, ranging in type and size. The application of each reconstruction method is considered in this context and compared with respect to additional constraints, such as time availability and simplicity of operation of the corresponding scanning modality. To further support our findings, we release a multi-modal dataset obtained from a hypothetical indoor crime scene to the public.