At 12:30 p.m. on August 31, 2022, an employee was picking up an empty shipping container while working as a truck driver. The employee received a list of empty containers from a dispatcher at arrived at a facility to locate and pick up the assigned empty container. The employee exited his truck to inspect an empty container at his employer's warehousing facility. While inspecting the container, an other truck driver who was an independent contractor was backing up to park a shipping container on an empty spot. The truck driver who was backing up had an obstructed view due to the shipping container, and he struck the container adjacent to where the employee was standing. As a result, the employee was pinned between two shipping containers and was killed by crushing injuries.

Enhancing Crime Scene Documentation with Drone-Created Orthomosaic Maps: A Case Study


Accurate documentation of crime scenes is crucial in legal investigations, particularly in personal injury cases. This case study highlights how Rafii & Associates, P.C., a law firm specializing in personal injury, utilized drone technology to document a crime scene where a truck driver was fatally injured. By employing drones to create orthomosaic maps, in collaboration with Southbay Drone Services, Rafii & Associates, P.C. achieved comprehensive and accurate documentation of the incident, aiding their legal proceedings.

The Challenge:

Rafii & Associates, P.C. faced the challenge of accurately documenting a crime scene where a truck driver was fatally killed by another truck driver. Traditional methods of crime scene documentation, such as photographs and sketches, were not possible since they could not gain access to the site. The challenge was to find a solution that would provide an accurate and detailed representation of the crime scene to support their legal investigation.

The Solution:

To overcome the challenge, Rafii & Associates, P.C. engaged the services of Southbay Drone Services, a professional drone service provider. The following steps were taken to document the crime scene using drones:

  1. Drone Deployment and Data Collection: Southbay Drone Services deployed licensed drone operators equipped with high-resolution cameras to capture aerial images and data of the crime scene. The drone operators flew the drones over the site, capturing images from various angles and heights to ensure comprehensive coverage.
  2. Data Processing and Orthomosaic Mapping: The collected drone data, including the aerial images, were processed using specialized software to create an orthomosaic map. The software stitched the images together, rectified distortions, and generated a high-resolution, georeferenced map of the crime scene. This map provided an accurate representation of the scene, including spatial relationships and measurements.
  3. Integration with Legal Investigation: The orthomosaic map created from the drone data was integrated into the legal investigation process. Rafii & Associates, P.C. could overlay additional evidence, such as witness statements and other forensic data, onto the map, facilitating a comprehensive understanding of the incident and aiding in their legal proceedings.


The utilization of drone-created orthomosaic mapping provided several significant benefits to Rafii & Associates, P.C. and their legal investigation:

  1. Accurate and Comprehensive Documentation: The orthomosaic map created from drone data offered an accurate and detailed representation of the crime scene. It captured the spatial relationships, positions of vehicles, and the surrounding environment, providing comprehensive documentation crucial for legal investigations.
  2. Enhanced Evidence Visualization: The orthomosaic map served as a visual tool to understand the incident better. Overlaying additional evidence onto the map allowed for a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the scene, aiding in presenting evidence during legal proceedings.
  3. Efficient Investigation Process: The use of drone technology and orthomosaic mapping accelerated the documentation process. This allowed Rafii & Associates, P.C. to promptly gather comprehensive evidence, facilitating a more efficient investigation and potentially expediting legal proceedings.
  4. Enhanced Legal Strategy: The detailed and accurate documentation provided by the drone-created orthomosaic map strengthened Rafii & Associates, P.C.’s legal strategy. The comprehensive visual representation of the scene helped build a persuasive case, potentially leading to more favorable outcomes for their clients.


This case study demonstrates the benefits of utilizing drone technology and orthomosaic mapping to document crime scenes accurately. By collaborating with Southbay Drone Services, Rafii & Associates, P.C. successfully achieved comprehensive and detailed documentation of a crime scene involving a fatal truck driver incident. The use of drones provided accurate spatial data, enhanced evidence visualization, and facilitated a more efficient investigation process. Integrating drone technology into legal investigations empowers law firms to present compelling evidence, support their legal strategies, and ultimately seek justice for their clients in personal injury cases.