The Application of Photogrammetry in the Autopsy Room: A Basic, Practical Workflow*

Lorenzo Gitto, Laura Donato, Alessandro Di Luca, Stephanie M. Bryant, Serenella Serinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Photogrammetry is a technique that uses two-dimensional photographs taken from different angles and positions to determine three-dimensional coordinates and distances. Becoming familiar with the photography technique for photogrammetry purposes is the first step to obtaining high-quality results. Ten human cadavers were studied to develop this protocol. Appropriate equipment settings, measurements, and suitable ambient conditions were determined. Finally, the protocol was tested on one cadaver wherein a full postmortem examination was conducted, allowing accurate 3D modeling and measurements of the human body. This straightforward, step-by-step workflow will help users become familiar with this technique. A thorough description of the necessary steps is reported, including equipment, environment requirements, body placement, how to take photographs, and the minimum suggested number of photographs. Numerous graphics show the protocol's main steps to help users understand and reproduce the entire process. Photogrammetry allows the permanent recording and storage of photographic evidence of conditions that existed at the time of autopsy and accurate measurements of the body. The 3D model can have a powerful effect in court, where the findings can be accurately depicted without elicitation of strong emotion that may influence the judge or jurors. The primary disadvantage of photogrammetry for forensic pathology is its time-consuming nature. However, the widespread use of the photogrammetry technique in postmortem rooms would allow in-depth testing to detect and fix potential pitfalls, making this technique more reproducible and verifiable, increasing its admissibility in courts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2146-2154
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume65
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 3D-modeling
  • autopsy
  • forensic pathology
  • forensic photography
  • photogrammetry
  • postmortem imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics

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