3D Photogrammetry Used to Analyze Off-Road Accident Scene by Curtis Beloy, P.E.

Safety Engineering Associates analyzed an ATV accident resulting in a product liability claim that had occurred over 10 years earlier.  Leading up to trial, a point of contention with the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert involved the specific location of physical evidence on a hillside where the accident occurred.  Photographs taken the day of the accident depicted the evidence, however the perspective that the photographs were taken from were not ideal for showing where the evidence was located relative to the base of the hill.  While we were confident in our plot of the physical evidence, we sought a way to clearly demonstrate this to a jury.

Safety Engineering utilized the high-definition laser scan data collected at the accident site inspection to create a model of the hillside in 3D modeling software.  The 3D model included notable features such as a large oak tree, rocks, and other terrain features that had not changed position between the time of the accident and the time of the site inspection.  Within the 3D model we matched the perspective where a scene photograph depicting the evidence had been taken many years earlier.  A video was produced that started with the perspective of the scene photograph and then moved the viewer within the 3D computer model to alternate perspectives of the hillside and clearly demonstrated the location of the physical evidence.  The case settled prior to going to trial.