3D laser scanning provides high-definition images and data for precise scene documentation and preservation.  Laser scanning is especially useful for documenting crashed vehicles for accident reconstruction, as well as catastrophic losses or architectural preservation, where no existing or accurate drawings may exist or where changes have been made because of age or substantially altered conditions.

The scanner is used to capture large or difficult-to-reach measurements—a vehicle crash scene, or the out‑of‑plane displacement of a tall wall. Recently, as part of a condition assessment, the historic Hermann Monument in New Ulm, Minnesota was 3D scanned by Crane Engineering.  We used our Leica scanner to capture a High Density Scan (HDS) of the monument in great detail.  The HDS was used to create a virtual 3D model from which plans and reconstruction/rehabilitation drawings could more easily be created.  The data from the scan can also be used to preserve and archive the current condition of the monument before anything is changed or altered. 

 Hermann monument

Hermann monument

A similar approach can be taken with historic or modern buildings to assist in creating Building Information Modeling (BIM).  Building owners, architects and engineers use BIM to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Capturing the geometric data at great heights would have painstakingly taken days, using aerial lifts and multiple people.  The high-density scans were captured in a matter of hours, from the safety of the ground.

With vehicles that have been involved in accidents, scanning is an efficient and accurate way of taking measurements useful in reconstructions, such as overall vehicle geometry, driver positioning, and crush profiles for matching damaged vehicles.  At accident sites, laser scanning is an efficient way to survey roadway geometry and provide a foundation for 3D analysis of sight lines, scene photographs, and surveillance videos.

Real-world objects and locations are documented as “point clouds” made up of millions of points. As incident sites can change and vehicles can be sold at auction or crushed, preserving both perpetually as part of an investigation is invaluable. These “point clouds” can go on to be used in diagrams, animations and simulations, and trial exhibits.