Simplifying rescue operations with the Leica BLK3D

An earthquake has caused major structural damage, trapping residents in a collapsed apartment building. A flood has wiped out bridges, leaving motorists stranded. A mudslide is threatening to take out a village in its path.

These scenarios and other similar rescue operations fall under the expertise of the German Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk or THW), active both nationally and internationally as a rescue unit. With almost 80,000 volunteers and around 1,800 full-time employees, organised in 2,138 units and specialist groups, the organisation has repeatedly shown top performance in rescuing people and securing belongings in various missions and numerous emergencies.

As the name suggests, THW embodies the technical component in civil defense and disaster control. Particularly after natural catastrophes, the support of infrastructure at risk of collapse is crucial for the successful execution of a rescue operation. Similarly, after building fires, in which the structure has been extremely weakened by the fire itself and the extinguishing work, protection against collapse is enormously important for public spaces.

At present, THW's emergency service professionals often put themselves in great danger, as they must get very close to the damage in order to take relevant 3D-measurements, for example, to secure a building. Now with the help of the Leica BLK3D real-time, in-picture 3D measurement solution, rapid response units can take these important measurements directly from a safe distance and make quicker decisions on tactics and materials to be used together with the heads of the units.


Measuring directly in the picture

The BLK3D is based on the latest photographic technology. The compact and mobile device combines a stereo camera, measurement sensors, edge computing and data processing with its onboard-software, enabling detailed 3D measurements in a photo in real time and on site without the need for time consuming cloud computing. Each captured image represents a complete and accurate 3D measurement report of the site.

For the THW rapid response units, this new, digital 3D measurement solution, therefore, means an enormous improvement in work safety and time savings for a complex measurement of damage. Taking a photo and measuring everything in it couldn't be easier or safer.


The BLK3D can simply be operated via its 5.0” LCD Multi-Touch Display, just as one is used to on a smartphone. Taking photographs and measuring distances with the BLK3D is very simple and intuitive and does not require any lengthy training or instruction in the system - in line with Leica BLK instruments, which are designed for particularly easy handling.

The BLK3D clearly demonstrates Leica Geosystems' and Hexagon's pioneering role in the democratization of technology. When developing the BLK3D, our goal was to create an image-based measuring device that was as easy to use as a smartphone - without any previous knowledge of stereophotogrammetry needed. Every user can make precise 3D measurements in the image. The BLK3D simplifies measuring for the on-site staff, and, thus, makes their work not only more efficient but also significantly safer.

With nearly 20 years of business development experience, Roland Raith serves as
Hexagon’s Geosystems division director of business development for forensics in Europe. In this role, he is responsible for driving strategic business growth with public safety professionals.

Before coming to Hexagon, Raith worked for FARO Technologies as an application
engineer moving upward into distribution and regional manager roles overseeing sales and growth strategies for laser scanning technologies in the public safety sector. He began his career in IT making a switch to sales and business development shortly after.
Raith holds a certificate in export and international marketing from the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

He is currently pursuing his Certified Professional Criminal Investigator, Certified Counter Threat Analyst, Certified Cyber Intelligence Professional, Certified Expert in Cyber Investigation at the McAfee Institute, and Certified Security Management Professional at University of Leicester distinctions. He is also a member of the American Society of Industrial Security and Global Society of Homeland and National Security Professionals.



With 20 years of professional experience in Marketing and business development, Malgorzata Krol works at Hexagon Geosystem as Senior Marketing Manager EMEA Forensics leading the Public Safety, Forensics & Security Marketing activities in the region. Her role includes also business intelligence analysis and the strategic market development within the public safety segment.

Prior to joining Hexagon, Malgorzata worked at FARO Technologies as Senior Product Marketing Manager in the area of Public Safety & Forensics, Product Marketing Manager for 3D Documentation (Laser Scanning), International Distribution Manager as well as apprentice trainer. She is also expert in CRM, Digital Marketing and Marketing Automation.

Malgorzata started her career at the DaimlerChrysler Bank as Marketing Communication and CRM Project Manager, where she headed many international CRM-, and market research projects.

She holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from the Poznań University of Economics and Business as well as a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance from the WSB University in Poznań (both: Poland). Among others Malgorzata has a certification in Forensic Psychology from The Open University in Milton Keynes (UK) as well as a certification in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (Scotland). She is also a member of the International Public Safety and Security Association.