A system allows crime scene and accident scene investigators the ability to acquire visual scene data using cameras for processing at a later time. This system uses a COTS digital camera, a photogrammetry calibration cube, and 3D photogrammetry processing software.

In a previous instrument developed by NASA, the laser scaling device made use of parallel laser beams to provide a photogrammetry solution in 2D. This device and associated software work well under certain conditions. In order to make use of a full 3D photogrammetry system, a different approach was needed.

When using multiple cubes, whose locations relative to each other are unknown, a procedure that would merge the data from each cube would be as follows:

  1. One marks a reference point on cube 1, then marks points on cube 2 as unknowns. This locates cube 2 in cube 1’s coordinate system.
  2. One marks reference points on cube 2, then marks points on cube 1 as unknowns. This locates cube 1 in cube 2’s coordinate system.
  3. This procedure is continued for all combinations of cubes.
  4. The coordinate of all of the found coordinate systems is then merged into a single global coordinate system.

In order to achieve maximum accuracy, measurements are done in one of two ways, depending on scale: when measuring the size of objects, the coordinate system corresponding to the nearest cube is used, or when measuring the location of objects relative to a global coordinate system, a merged coordinate system is used.

Presently, traffic accident analysis is time-consuming and not very accurate. Using cubes with differential GPS would give absolute positions of cubes in the accident area, so that individual cubes would provide local photogrammetry calibration to objects near a cube.

This work was done by John Lane of ASRC Aerospace for Kennedy Space Center. KSC-12975