Thursday, October 6, 2011

Panoramic crime scenes

You've seen them: panoramic photos of the hotel lobby, a vacation rental, or the interior of a new car you are scoping out on the manufacturer's website.  Panoramic photos are just popping up everywhere these days. I blogged about this a couple of years ago, marveling at the work of a local Lincoln firm (, and wondering what the future would hold for panoramic photography in emergency services.

At the time, I was thinking about panoramic photography as a great means of establishing situational awareness for police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders.  I though such imagery would be great for high-risk facilities such as government buildings, arenas, schools, critical infrastructure, and the like.  I pictured a library of panoramas that a SWAT team commander, battalion chief, or incident commander could consult during a protracted critical incident.

What I wasn't really thinking about at the time, however, was preserving information about crime scenes or fatal traffic crash scenes through panoramic photography.  A couple months ago, though, I found a new iPad app, TourWrist, that made me think about this application. TourWrist leverages the gyroscope in an iPad or iPhone, so you can navigate within a panoramic photo by moving or rotating the device.  It is a very immersive experience.  Next time you see someone holding their iPad over their head and looking up at it, or holding it at arms length and dancing in a tight circle, I'll wager they are using TourWrist to check out the ceiling of some opera house, or the landscape of some ancient ruins. It was my experience goofing around with this application that caused me to pause and think about scene photography.

Last week, I discovered something even more immersive and interactive: panoramic video.  The sample videos from (especially playing in their iPad application) simply blew me away.  I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around this: it's as if you are inserted right into the video, able not only to rewind, review, and repeat, but to control the point of view within the full 360 degree range of motion.  What a great way of re-examining a scene, or presenting its appearance to those who were not there to see it live.

There is no doubt in my mind that panoramic photography and panoramic video will be hugely influential in the future of crime and crash scene investigation.


Anonymous said...

That's really COOL!!!

Anonymous said...

I was in the garage last night and one of the neighbors was showing me how Google Sky worked on his cell phone. It was overcast and the actual constellations could not be seen so an actual comparison couldn't be done. I am still having a hard time figuring out all of the functions on my TV remote so I won't be buying one of these gizmos but it is fascinating.

Gun Nut

Steve said...

Is it possible the panoramic video you have in your post today is causing problems on my computer? Anyone else having problems? I keep getting script error messages on both my computers with your blog set as my home page when I try to navigate away from this page. The url listed in the script error is apparently the page containing the panoramic video. Any ideas? Help!

Kurt said...

Tom Casady said...


Wicked cool!