In this Issue:

Scanning, Droning and Photogrammetry: New Tools for Lawyers by Andre Stuart

The ATA Transportation Team

ATA Active in Multiple Trucking Conferences

This Issue's Toolbox Feature


By Andre Stuart
21st Century Forensic Animations

Recent advances in technology provide lawyers with significant new tools in evaluating and presenting their cases. Advantages include greatly increased accuracy, a much greater level of evidence detail, and efficient visual presentations. Terrestrial laser scanning, unmanned aerial vehicle 3-dimensional image-based modeling (drones) and close-range photogrammetry are three components of forensic remote sensing. These technologies document and measure physical evidence and the surrounding scene without physical contact

Laser scanning utilizes light to measure and collect millions of points of a scene in minutes. Scanners measure a scene 360 degrees horizontally and 320 degrees vertically. Scene measurements are typically accurate to 3 mm. The data is a digital duplicate of the scene. Laser scanning is becoming the de facto method of forensic scene documentation. Some estimated 2,000 law enforcement departments across the United States currently utilize scanner technology.

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) image-based 3-D modeling utilizes photographs acquired with a drone. A mission plan defines the path, overlap and elevation of the flight and is uploaded to the UAV. The UAV autonomously acquires the hundreds of photographs. The aerial photographs are utilized to create a 3-D model of the scene, an orthomosaic and subsequent 2-D diagram. An orthomosaic is an orthorectified collage of the aerial imagery, that is to say, a large image of the scene to scale. Though not as accurate as scanning, UAV’s are exceptionally suited to larger scale scene documentation such as motor vehicle accidents.

Close range photogrammetry is a metric science. It is the extraction of 3-D measurements from images. Images are captured from a variety of sources such as surveillance cameras, dash mounted cameras, body worn cameras or even phone cameras. The images possess important information regarding an event in question. The three-dimensional location, orientation, dimensions and position of objects or individuals can be extracted from these images. The process of extracting dimensional information requires the 3-D data generated from laser scanning and droning. The quality of the data extracted depends on many variables; however, high quality original digital images produce the best results.

If you would like more information than this brief description, we have a 10 page white paper with citations, which provides a greater review of forensic remote sensing. In the subsequent three months, we will generate individual white papers on each topic.



In our efforts to constantly evolve the scale and quality of our services, we have formed the “ATA Transportation Team.”

Rarely do accident investigations simply involve going to the site, taking pictures and doing a survey. Modern accident reconstruction usually involves a group of people who specialize in very specific forensic disciplines that greatly enhance an investigation, arming the client with an array of critical and useful data

The ATA Transportation Team is an assemblage of seasoned experts associated with our company that work in a variety of areas that cover the wide spectrum of factors and eventualities that arise during the course of an accident investigation. These experts cover everything from metallurgy and materials sciences to the study of human factors. We have team members who are skilled in specialized photography and videography, as well as the use of various media as it would pertain to litigation support. We also have several experts that specialize in training and safety considerations, as well as trucking fleet management.

Please visit our ATA TRANSPORTATION TEAM web page for a list of team members and their areas of expertise.



Texas Challenge - July11 - Corpus Christi, TX

ATA staff members attended the 2018 Texas Challenge, also known as the Texas Commercial Vehicle Inspectors Championship, which was held in Corpus Christi at the Corpus Christi Convention Center, July 11. Personnel from both local and state law enforcement, as well as representatives from the trucking industry worked together to test inspectors in a competitive format in areas such as a Level 1, Hazardous Materials, Passenger Carrying, and Cargo Tank inspections. The top two finishers in this state-wide competition progress on to a national competition later in the year. ATA project manager Jay Ferguson, via her long-time associations with the Houston Council of Safety Professionals was selected as one of the competition judges. ATA videographer Ken Krueger was also on-hand to shoot video of the various conference activities which will be turned into a commemorative DVD.

TXTA - July 26-28 - San Antonio, TX

ATA Associates was pleased to be a sponsor at the TXTA Annual Conference in San Antonio. This year’s conference celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of the TXTA Foundation. The TXTA Foundation was established in 1978 to fund education and research projects for the Texas trucking industry. ATA is excited to announce that our project manager, Jay Ferguson, was elected to the Foundation Board this year. Jay has been very involved in the TXTA since 2012 and serves on the Houston Chapter Steering Committee. She is also a graduate of the Emerging Leader Council class of 2017 and has served as the Chairman of the Houston Chapter.

APITLA - August 6-8 - Galveston, TX

ATA Associates were conference sponsors and ATA staff were presenters at the 2018 APITLA National Interstate Trucking Super Summit. ATA staff member, Allen Vaughan, gave a presentation on ATA’s background, history and approach to accident investigations. He highlighted some of ATA’s featured services, such as the ATA Transportation Team and our Quick Response Program; and presented a sample case summary. Staff reconstructionist, April Yergin engaged in an insightful discussion about issues surrounding vehicle/truck underride collisions, which included a variety of crash test videos. Subsequently, ATA CEO, Bob Swint, followed up with a unique vehicle accident case investigation summary that was of great interest to the audience.


This issue’s featured topic for ATA’s Toolbox focuses on the use of surveillance video in forensic engineering. We have found that more and more often, accidents are being captured on surveillance video cameras to the extent that surveillance video is now a “go to” resource that we often utilize in our investigations.

One of the advantages that surveillance videos possess as a forensic tool is that the reconstructionist or investigator has an “eyewitness” that isn’t dependent on a sketchy or subjective memory. Also, by using visual landmarks, the expert can determine vehicle speed and other characteristics critical to the investigation.

Visit the Toolbox and click on the “Use of Surveillance Video in Forensic Engineering” tab to view presentations on this important investigative topic.