Korean J Leg Med.  2012 May;36(1):85-96. 10.7580/KoreanJLegMed.2012.36.1.85.

Application of 3D Surface Scanners in Forensic Science and Medicine ( I ): Digital Storage of Human Skeletons and Development of Appraisal Methods for Incident Scenes

  • 1Korea Disaster Victim Identification, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea. nechung@korea.kr
  • 2Division of Forensic Medicine, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Division of Questioned Document, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Division of Traffic Engineering, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Division of Physical Analysis, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Division of Forensic Medicine, the Central District Office of National Forensic Service, Daejon, Korea.
  • 7Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 8Department of Anatomy, Ewha Womans University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 9Department of Anatomy/Catholic Institute for Applied Anatomy, College of Medicine, Catholic University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 10Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board, Seoul, Korea.
  • 11Cadastral Research Institute of Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation, Seoul, Korea.
  • 12Opto Mechanical Associate Co., Daejon, Korea.
  • 13Dimension & Solution Co., Daejon, Korea.
  • 14Dream Technology & Solution Co., Seongnam, Korea.
  • 15Wipco Co., Seongnam, Korea.
  • 16Multimedia Business & System Provider Co. Seoul, Korea.


The aim of this project was to use 3D scanning data collected at incident scenes and various evidence to 1) develop surveying methods based on 3D data consisting of overall and detailed scene evidence, captured by long-range and micros-canner, which can be shared by personnel working in different fields such as forensic medicine, video analysis, physical analysis, traffic engineering, and fire investigation; 2) create digital storage for human skeletons and set the foundation for virtual anthropology; and 3) improve the credibility of 3D evidence by virtual remodeling and simulation of incident scenes and evidence to provide a basis for advanced and high-tech scientific investigation. Two complete skeletons of male and female were scanned using 3D micro-scanner. Each bone was successfully reproduced and assembled in virtual space. In addition, recreating evidence scheduled for invasive examination by creating RP (rapid prototype) was possible. These outcomes could play an important role in setting up the new field of virtual anthropology. Case-specific surveying methods were developed through analysis of 3D scanning data collected by long-range surface scanners at the scenes of vehicular accidents, falls, shootings, and violent crimes. A technique and recording method was also developed for detecting forged seals by micro-scanning the pressure exerted on the seal. Appraisal methods developed in this project could be utilized to secure 3D data of human skeletal remains and incident scenes, create a standard for application, and increase objectivity, reproducibility, and accuracy of scanning methods. We plan to develop case-specific 3D data analysis techniques to improve the credibility of analysis at the NFS and to establish a 3D data collection and analysis team.


3D scanner; modeling; simulation; virtual anthropology; rapid prototype

MeSH Terms

Data Collection
Forensic Medicine
Forensic Sciences
Statistics as Topic


  • Fig. 1 Process for digital storage of human skeletons.

  • Fig. 2 Basic structure of the new code.

  • Fig. 3 Diagram for new code and classified code list.

  • Fig. 4 Reconstruction of modeled skeletons and making animation.

  • Fig. 5 Examples of rapid prototypes of skeletons : 1. right Femur, 2. right Humerus, 3. Atlas (C1)

  • Fig. 6 Basic process of 3D scan & simulation on traffic accidents.

  • Fig. 7 Analysis of Gyoungju Tourist Bus Crash. ① aerial photography of crash site ② scanning, modelling, simulation & animation for crash

  • Fig. 8 Analysis of Traffic Accident at Gangbyeon Expressway. ① Locations of Scanner : 1-6 for VZ 400, 3-1, 4-1 for HDS 6100 ② Traffic Control for scanning ③ Registration & Point Cloud data ④ Simulation

  • Fig. 9 Reconstruction of indoor case (supposition of murder).

  • Fig. 10 Reconstruction of outdoor case (supposition of murder).

  • Fig. 11 3D modeling for Garden 5 Complex.

  • Fig. 12 Diagram of BMT project at Kimpo international airport.

  • Fig. 13 Color mapping & point cloud data (supposition of helicopter crash).

  • Fig. 14 The Proposed process of detecting transcribed seal Impression.

  • Fig. 15 Measurement of the 3D information of a seal impression : Pressure trace map of a seal impression in pseudo color.

  • Fig. 16 3D modeling for the shooting place of CCTV.

  • Fig. 17 Making the reference rulers in a shooting place of CCTV.

  • Fig. 18 Project and compare with 2D photographs in 3D space.

  • Fig. 19 Comparison with the pattern of lime powder in 3D space.


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