Things that can be determined:

  • From precisely what vantage point was a police photograph taken?
  • What camera parameters best describe a particular photograph?
  • Based on photographs, precisely how much crush did a vehicle sustain in an accident?
  • Based on photographs, precisely where did a vehicle come to rest, and how was it oriented?
  • At what points during an accident would a vehicle or pedestrian have been visible to a particular driver?
  • What is the relevant geometry of a particular busy street, parking lot, or location that cannot be easily accessed (i.e. only photographs may be obtained)?
  • Where would skidmarks have been expected to be on a particular photograph, based on the accident reconstruction? 

These and other questions can be addressed using photogrammetry.  Existing photographs taken of the accident scene and vehicles by police officers or witnesses, and vehicle damage photographs recorded by repair facility personnel can frequently be used to accurately estimate vehicle crush and rest positions, skid mark trajectories, etc.  Additional photographs of exemplar vehicles or of the subject accident site may be taken to map vehicle damage or accident reconstruction results onto an accurate three-dimensional model of the vehicle or accident site. 

Photographs or negatives from film cameras and images from newer digital cameras and videocameras can be calibrated to produce accurate three-dimensional information relevant to analyzing motor vehicle accidents.