3D Laser Scanning

The application of a scanner is only limited by the imagination.

The 3-D laser scanners employed by S-E-A provide investigators with millions upon millions of data points from which everything can be measured--from the angle of a splinter of wood to an entire oak tree. Every second, the scanner captures one million data points with almost pinpoint accuracy. Imagine re-creating an entire fire scene as a 3-D model to be presented to a jury. In color.


Many times key measurements only become apparent after the conclusion of a site inspection. Before the 3-D laser scanner those measurements were often lost forever. However, with the scanner, the data points and measurements are at the fingertips of our investigators as if they were once again at the scene on the day of the site inspection.

For more examples, visit our Vimeo page.


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3D Scanning Overview

To better explain the 3D Scanner, S-E-A scanned the Ohio Caverns, a completely amorphous location, to develop a fly-through animation. While watching the video, imagine scanning the equally amorphous and previously immeasurable features of a fire scene, the crush of a vehicle involved in an accident, or an intersection complete with towering trees and high tension wires.

Building Fire

A fire engulfs a building and is eventually controlled by firefighters. S-E-A is called to the scene to document the resulting loss. Under normal circumstances, completely documenting something as amorphous as a fire scene would be impossible. However, S-E-A, armed with a 3D scanner, obtained data points of the exterior of the structure, thus digitally preserving the scene and offering investigators an easy way to measure necessary points well after the eventual demolition of the building.


S-E-A produced a high resolution flythrough of an intersection, capturing trees, flowers, water, and road markings from which everything can be measured. First, the scene was scanned in multiple locations. Second, the scans were stitched together. Finally, a flythrough was created using post-processing techniques.

Bus Scan to Model

Injuries are sustained by passengers on a bus after the bus collides with another vehicle. S-E-A is asked to document the bus via the 3D scanner and eventually produce an animation depicting what happened the day of the accident. The video here depicts the high quality bus scans, both inside and out.

Boat Collision

Two boats collide and are transported to separate locations as evidence. One captain claims the other boat ran over the top of his boat and physically struck him. The other claims that they simply collided, and one boat did not drive over top of the other. S-E-A was asked to scan both boats and, using the deformation in the hulls, recreate the accident to determine who is telling the truth. After scanning both boats and combining them in an animation, S-E-A determined that one boat did not drive over the other—they collided and both boats remained completely in the water.

Scene Scan to Model

After an elevator accident at a single family residence, S-E-A is called in to scan the upper and lower floors as well as the elevator shaft. After the data points are obtained, S-E-A converts the scan into a hi-resolution animation using sophisticated post-processing techniques. The result is an accurate flythrough of the house, from which everything can be measured. Not only does the final product completely document the scene, but it can potentially be used as demonstrative evidence in court to clearly make a point.