Watching our house being ravaged by fire is a sickening and heartbreaking moment. But once the firemen put out all the flames, we have no choice but to get back up and start over. The first step is to calculate the cost of damaged property and lost items. This is where the fire investigators come in, and they have a new tool that can help us tally losses: VR Photogrammetry Technology.
How VR Photogrammetry Technology Works
Photogrammetry is the act of processing a series of photos using a specialized software to create a realistic 3D scene. The technology’s main purpose is to capture an environment as it is in real life. Most professionals use it to survey and map properties (hectares of land). For fire investigators, photogrammetry helps them scan a burned house or building accurately, so they can review it from afar.
Keeping the fire investigators safe
A burned house or building isn’t stable. The fire caused structural damage to it. Some parts may fall even if the fire department said it’s safe to enter.
Now, fire investigators usually spend a long time inside the burned structure, figuring out what caused the blaze and calculating how much the damages are.
With a highly detailed 3D scene, fire investigators do not need to go inside a building with poor structural integrity multiple times. Once the photographs are taken and the photogrammetry process is complete, the fire investigators can review the situation from their office. They can use their desktop computers, mobile phones, or a VR headset (in case they want to feel immersed).
A better way to create an inventory of loss property
Having a digital version of the burned building is also convenient for the homeowner when it’s time to make an inventory of damaged property and items. By showing them a walkthrough of the burned home or building, they can pinpoint the items they’ve lost.
This is a tough process, but fire investigators need to do this in order to assess the damage costs correctly. Insurance companies (if you have one) always demand a correct approximate value.
Investigating an arson
A fire happens fast. And, there is a thin line between an arson and an accident. With an HD photogrammetry scan of the burned structures, fire investigators can study the scene better. They can tell whether the fire is truly an unfortunate incident or a planned crime.
In the event of suspected wrongdoing, the scans can be used as proof in court. Lawyers can pinpoint the reasons why they think an event is an arson case, while the jury looks at the scene of the fire using a VR headset.
Watch this fire investigation demo capture shown in CES 2018: