Crime Scene Documentation

Crime Scene in Rose Goggins Murder Case in Tennessee

The Operational Projects Unit (OPU) supports FBI operations by providing accurate and timely technical, photographic, and structural services for counterterrorism, counterintelligence, criminal investigative, and forensic investigations and prosecutions.

General Information 

The Operational Projects Unit provides technical support for the following:

  • Crime scene survey
  • Crime scene documentation
  • Demonstrative court presentation
  • Three-dimensional physical models
  • Crime scene photography

Highly-trained visual information specialists and scientific and technical photographers from OPU use high-end computer aided design (CAD), three-dimensional (3D) modeling, and computer animation functionality in their daily applications which enhance the unit’s field investigative support. Unit personnel can travel both domestically and internationally to provide crime scene support.

Survey, Documentation, and Photography 

Unit personnel can provide detailed and accurate on-site documentation for:

  • Crime scenes
  • Bullet trajectory
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Bombings
  • Plane crashes, and more

Types of Survey and Documentation 

  • Traditional measuring methods
  • Total station survey
  • Tripod or roof mounted laser scanner with digital camera and GPS options

3D laser scanning technology can also be utilized for ongoing, real-time operations, such as hostage situations requiring immediate on-site measurements, or for major planning.

Three-Dimensional Physical Models 

The data collected from these methods, by OPU or any agency, will enable OPU to prepare concise (to scale) 2D or 3D demonstrative evidence. In addition, the scan system will also be used for the high resolution scanning and documentation of objects such as bomb components, bomb fragments, firearms, vehicle interiors, etc.

OPU personnel create two- and three-dimensional crime scene diagrams, three-dimensional digital and physical models, computer animation, digitally interactive scene and scenario reconstructions, and scientific and technical photography.

Contact Information 

Operational Projects Unit
FBI Laboratory
(703) 632-8194