The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2018)

Smartphone Photogrammetry:Creating a Quick and Easy Recording Method for Forensic Crime Scenes


1Texas Bioscience Institute, Temple College, 2Social Sciences, Texas A&M University Central Texas

April 12, 2018 , Zilker 1/2/3 Add to calendar

This project was developed to test the suitability of methods in photogrammetry for use in both crime scenes and lab settings. The authors compared camera quality, availability, number of photos, time required to photograph, and ease of camera against the quality of 3D model that can be produced. A Canon Rebel t3i DSLR, iPhone 5s, and GoPro hero 3 were used to photograph a forensic dummy in a mock crime scene and an anatomical human skull in a lab setting. The DSLR produced the most accurate 3D models with the least amount of photos taken, making it the fastest, best and highest cost option. The iPhone 5s also produced high quality models, though they were less accurate than the DSLR and required more photos to capture detail, making the iPhone the best option for ease of use, low cost, and availability relative to quality. The GoPro produced low quality models and is not recommended in either setting as the 170 degree angle of its camera produces photos that are not compatible with Autodesk software. Since smartphones are readily available, this project demonstrates that photogrammetry can be used to create models quickly and inexpensively in forensic or lab settings with minimal funds or access to professional cameras or 3D scanners, such as in rural areas or developing countries. Using a smartphone and Autodesk, crime scene or lab subjects can be photographed and the photos converted into high quality shareable 3D models in 2 hours or less.