FARO Resources

Company and Product Documentation

FARO Resources

Laser Scanning 101

Technical Sheets

Case Studies

 & Whitepapers



Why Choose 3D Laser Scanning

How Does 3D Laser Scanning Work?

What are the Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning?

3D Laser Scans


When a 3D laser scanner is used to scan a crash or crime scene, the entire scene is recorded in the form of millions of (X,Y,Z) data points. Anything the laser can “see” is accurately captured as a data point, which, when combined with all the captured points, make up a point cloud of the scene. Point clouds from multiple scans can be precisely combined, or registered, to create a complete 3D model of the scene, exactly as it appeared at the time of the scans. Software is used to view the point cloud, move through it, take measurements, create diagrams, and animations from the point data. Unlike the actual scene, the point cloud captured by a laser scanner never changes so you can examine the scene weeks, or years later with complete confidence that all the evidence was captured. Data captured by laser scanners is now commonly accepted in court and software like FARO WebShare make it possible to easily provide point cloud data to attorneys and juries.

Scanning Benefits

Compared to traditional evidence collection methods, which can include tape measures and total stations, 3D Laser Scanning delivers a number of benefits to the Public Safety market including:

  • Improved Data Accuracy and More Data Points
  • Improved Speed and Efficiency
  • Improved Safety
  • Improved Credibility of Data
  • Ability to Deliver Field-to-Finish Results
  • Thorough Digital Preservation of Crime/Crash Evidence
  • Complete Archival of Crime/Crash Documentation
  • Gather Evidence to Help Identify Fire Origin and Cause
  • Reporting Flexibility
  • Gather Evidence for providing Court Room-Ready Presentations
  • Evidence Analysis
  • Gather Evidence for Crush Analysis
  • Facilitates Cold Case Investigation


Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions.

  • What does the 3D laser scanner do?

    FARO’s Focus3D Laser Scanners quickly and accurately collect millions of measurable data points for a crime or accident scene. The scanner can collect 360 degrees of data at up to 1,082 feet in every direction. The result is a virtual 3D color model of the scene, which can be stored as a permanent digital record. By capturing nearly all of the points in the scene, every measurement can be taken and then processed from the comfort of your office. The data can be transformed into a credible 2D or 3D model of the scene exactly as it was at the time of capture.

  • How much time will the laser scanner save me?

    It depends on the complexity of the scene, but generally speaking, our customers are able to reduce their time on the scene by as much as 80% versus using conventional evidence collection tools such as measuring wheels, total stations, and/or photography.  With laser scanning, the evidence can typically be captured by collecting data in 4-6 scans.

  • Does the FARO laser scanner have to be leveled like a total station?

    No. The FARO laser scanner is a one-button, single-user, self-leveling measurement tool. It does not require “leveling” or extended warm-up time.

  • What software programs work on the laser scanners?

    FARO offers several software programs, including FARO CAD Zone and FARO Reality, as well as plug in applications for SCENE software. Our software programs provide field-to-finish results.

  • What are the prices for the scanners and software?

    Prices will vary based on your specific requirements, scanner model, accessories and software. Click here to request a quote, or call us today for a customized, no obligation quote (800.736.0234).

  • Does FARO offer grant assistance?

    Yes. Through a partnership with PoliceOne.com and FireRescue1.com, agencies applying for grants under these programs (see http://www.policegrantshelp.com/) are able to take advantage of a FARO-sponsored 50% discount on grant writing services. Additionally, FARO offers a Grant Reimbursement Program. This unique program helps reimburse some or all of  the costs (up to $2,500) associated with the grant submission process when the grant award ultimately goes toward the purchase of a FARO3D X Series Laser Scanner. For more details on this program, call us at 800.736.0234.

  • Does FARO offer a lease or rental program for the laser scanner?

    Yes, please contact a sales specialist for more information.

  • Do I have to use FARO software with the 3D laser scanners?

    FARO SCENE is the recommended software product for registering multiple scans, but other products are also effective.  FARO CAD Zone Point Cloud and Reality are software products that are commonly used by investigators to created 2D or 3D diagrams and animations using scan data.  FARO SCENE allows you to save the scanner data to a standard .pts file, so you can use any software that is compatible with that format.  There is also a plugin from C2Max for 3D Studio Max.

  • Are the FARO products available to purchase through GSA?

    Yes. Our contract number is GS24F0044M and the catalog can be accessed through https://www.GSAadvantage.gov

  • What other law enforcement or state crime labs are using FARO software and hardware?

    There are many local, state, and federal agencies using FARO scanners. Visit our Case Study / White Paper page or News and Events to read about some of them.

  • Are there any case studies or webinars I can download?

    Yes. We publish case studies and white papers regularly on this website under “Resources.” If you don’t see something you’re looking for, or need more than what is available here, visit our “Download Center” by clicking here.

  • Can I trade in a total station or what I am using now toward the purchase of a new FARO laser scanner?

    Yes. Please contact our sales specialist at 800.736.0234, or click here to request a quote.


FireZone Overview Step-by-Step Tutorial
FARO Global Customer Service

FARO Handheld 3D Scanner Freestyle3D -
Forensic Investigation

FARO Handheld 3D Scanner Freestyle3D -
Accident Reconstruction

Documenting an Accident Scene

Courtesy of Simi Valley Police Department

Actual 3D Scan of an Accident Scene

Courtesy of Georgia Public Safety Training Center


3D Laser Scanner Fly Through

Courtesy of Larimer County Sheriff's Office and Brian Wangler

Fly Through of a Home-Fire Scan

Courtesy of Atlantic Laser Scanning and Nick Worrell


© 2017 Copyright FARO Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.