Collision and Crime Scene Investigation

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police(RCMP) started using drones to help with their work on collision and crime scene investigations which allows it to be conducted under all weather conditions and provides broader views than the traditional procedures…

  • Organization The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  • Country Canada
  • Industry Emergency Response (Forensic)
  • Project Date September 2014
  • Project Members Draganfly, Aeryon Labs
  • Project Size 3.1 Acre
  • Number of Images 212
  • GSD 1 cm

Project Description

The demonstration project aims to propose a drone-based protocol for accident and crime scene investigations. Comparing results with traditional methods (measuring tape, laser scanner) shows the accuracy and reliability of the achieved reconstruction results so that they can eventually be used as admitted evidence in court.

Data Acquisition

Two data sets of a made-up crime scene were acquired with quadcopters from Aeryon Labs and Draganfly. The ground sampling distance was less than one centimeter in order not to miss any details.

The full flight took less than thirty minutes including the pre-flight preparation. Eight yellow evidence markers were placed around the collision scene, indicating the location where all evidence was found.

n order to improve the global accuracy of the final results (which is optional), several points were measured with kinetic GPS and total station. These points were picked from corners of the vehicles, the feature objects, and the evidence markers. They were imported into the software and used either as ground control points, manual tie points or check points.

In addition, a terrestrial laser scanner was set up in several locations to scan over the entire scene, to be used for quality assessment of the drone mapping results. This procedure can be completed right after the accident or crime occurred, including the on-site flight and measurements for quality assessment.

Achieved Result

Pix4Dmapper’s total processing time was approximately two hours on a laptop with a core i7 and 8GB RAM. A densified point cloud, digital surface model (DSM) and orthomosaic were generated. Annotation and measurements were directly made in the software user interface.

The reconstructed results either exactly match or are within one centimeter accuracy when compared with traditional methods (tape measurements and laser scanner). Detailed comparisons of results can be found in the White Paper.

The point cloud was imported into MapScenes Forensic software for further analysis. The protocol has proved that drone-based solutions not only save the field measuring work but also provides LiDAR-like accuracies with more visible details which can be admitted as evidence in court.

Advantage of the New Technology

Using drones and Pix4Dmapper for reconstructing accident and crime scenes provides an immediate response, saves time and expenses and offers highly accurate outputs. Generated results are available permanently and users can access files files and make measurements anytime when required to. Actual scenes are preserved in 3D and with detailed information within centimeter accuracy. In addition and compared to other precision instruments such as laser scanners, the cost of execution and maintenance of drone mapping is much lower.


Read the full White Paper
See the Project video