a 180-degree above and below the camera. You can even see the tripod the camera is on.

“The single image is certainly more efficient than using a still camera, where you would have to take 15 shots, depending on the lens, overlap them and then stitch them together to get the entire scene.”

Victoria Police has already put the Panoscan to use attending major events and complex homicides.

“They've been used in anti-terrorism work during the Rugby World Cup in October and at the national counter-terrorism exercise in March,” Sen Const Attard said. “But most of our work is for the Homicide Squad.”

The camera is mounted on a carbon fiber tripod and uses a battery as the power supply. A laptop computer is wired to the tripod and allows viewing of the image.

The camera takes a 30-second preview scan, and then a full-circle seamless image arrives on the laptop screen. Depending on light, the actual scan can take between one and 10 minutes to be recorded.

Once the image has been downloaded, software programs are used to turn the panoramic image into a cylinder or 3D cube before viewing.

“Later, still images, maps, plans and video footage can be added to build a complete file that becomes fully interactive and navigable.”

Sen Const Attard said Panoscan was yet to replace traditional video footage and photo stills taken at crime scenes, but its benefits were unquestionable.

INTELLIGENT POLICING
“It's the latest technology,” he said. “It's giving the user more control - they can operate and direct it to what they want to look at or zoom in on.”

“It also familiarizes everyone with the scene - the investigators, the magistrate, the coroner and the jury. It can also be used to corroborate witness evidence or negate other evidence.”

Detective Inspector Greg Hough, the officer in charge of the Disaster Victim Identification, Chemical, Biological and Radiological (Forensic Counter-Terrorism) Unit, can attest to the benefits of Panoscan and looks forward to its wider application in policing. “It'll be particularly beneficial at a disaster or major crime scene because we can get a copy of the Panoscan image on CD to I take back to the Police Operations Centre,” Det Insp Hough said. "This will give the commander a true perspective of the situation at an early stage.”

“We have already shown the Panoscan to the Office of Public Prosecutions, the State Coroner and the magistrates and they are keen to use it in court,” he said. “We have also shown it to the Law Institute of Victoria and believe we have now satisfactorily addressed some quality control issues they had. So now we are ready to present it in the courts.

Crime will no longer look the same, thanks to the introduction of a camera that takes 360 degree images of crime scenes.

BY CHELSEA ARNOLD

Victoria Police is the first jurisdiction in Australia to trial camera technology which can capture an entire crime scene in a single image.

The addition of two panoramic cameras will enable investigators to photograph and analyze 360-degree views of crime scenes and allow for greater security planning ahead of major events.

Senior Constable Godfrey Attard, of Crime Scene Video, said the cameras were purchased last year, with funds made available for additional disaster victim identification (DVI) equipment after the Bali bombing in 2002.

The cameras, manufactured in the United States, are valued at $38,000 each and provide greater efficiency and accuracy in recording information.

“The Panoscan can scan a full crime scene in 360 degrees, in one image,” Sen Const Attard said. We can take a single scan and it gives us

ABOVE: The 360 degree Panoscan camera.

FAR RIGHT: Sen Const Godfrey Attand tests the Panoscan at a mock crime scene.

RlGHT: The 360 degree Panoscan image of the mock crime scene.

Police Life 2004