Beering, Peter S. Messes, Mustard, & Masterpieces. The Hooser
Hot Spots. Fall, 1991. pp. 12-16.
Abstract: This article discusses advances in computer technology
that benefit the fire investigation field. Laptop computers, word processing
programs, spreadsheets, CAD and drawing systems, scanning systems, databases,
and the new methods of sending information have all contributed to the field
of fire investigation.
Laptop computers are now light enough to travel to the fire scene, allowing
an investigator to conveniently store all notes and comments. These notes
and comments can now be easily edited and rearranged by the investigator
at a later time. Many word processing programs allow an investigator to
automate routine task, such as preparing reports. Spreadsheets allow investigators
to organize their information in a clear, simple manner, which makes analyzing
it easier and more accurate.
Drawing systems allow investigators to produce accurate scene diagrams.
CAD systems can recreate the incident and offer information to those investigating
it. This information often comes in useful at trial, when it is presented
to a jury. Scanning allows large amounts of information to be stored.
Large documents can be stored and accessed quickly and they will take a
fraction of the space other methods of storage might use.
Databases offer a way to collect, organize, and manage different types
of information. Investigators can now easily access information in minutes
that used to take days to find. Communication has also greatly improved
fire investigations. Fax machines and e-mail provide the instant transferal
of information. This allows fire investigators more time to analyze information,
instead of searching for the facts.