Crime scenes involving human skeletal remains in obstructed wooded environments are challenging to document. One potential option to include with the crime scene processing protocol is 3D documentation utilizing close-range photogrammetry (CRP). This method results in the generation of realistic 3D models and accurate plan-view maps of the crime scene. The purpose of this research was to explore the use of CRP to preserve contextual information of simulated scenes involving scattered human remains in obstructed wooded environments. The main goal was to improve CRP methodology as well as demonstrate how to incorporate this method into the forensic archaeology documentation protocol. Photographs were collected freehand and models were processed using Agisoft Metashape Professional. The first phase of the research included recording one skeletal scatter four times with varying amounts of individual coded targets in addition to photogrammetric scale bars to test whether using additional coded targets improved 3D model accuracy. Accuracy was assessed through visual analysis, root-mean square (RMS) reprojection errors and total scale bar errors. The results indicated that including extra coded targets did not improve the accuracy of models significantly enough to warrant using the extra targets in conjunction with photogrammetric scale bars. For the second phase of the research, two larger skeletal scatters were documented to test the capabilities of CRP in an obstructed environment. While visual errors were present when zoomed in, the RMS reprojection and scale bar errors still indicated highly accurate models. However, the wooded environment presented numerous challenges that made utilizing CRP more difficult. Therefore, guidelines were outlined for documenting skeletal scatters in wooded environments using CRP, with a focus on addressing variables that can affect image quality. Overall, CRP is a viable method for documenting complex scenes in wooded environments which should be incorporated into forensic archaeological protocols.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Ferrell, Morgan, "Applications of Close-range Photogrammetry for Documenting Human Skeletal Remains in Obstructed Wooded Environments" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 212.