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Course Catalog > Crash Investigation

Forensic Mapping with Total Stations and CSI Mobile  

This course will teach you how to properly use a total station to create three dimensional maps of crash and crime scenes. Topics will range from the basic principles of surveying and the concepts of measurement to problem solving techniques needed to correct field errors. We will also show you how to download data from CSI Mobile to a computer and the basics of computer diagramming.

You will learn different methods of creating scaled drawings by means of triangulation, base line and radial measurements. We will explain how to locate points on the Cartesian coordinate system by ordered pairs and discuss the mathematical definition of points on a plane, lines, circles, and triangles. The distance formula for points on a coordinate plane using Pythagorean’s Theorem and measuring elevations will be introduced.

We’ll instruct you on the use of the total station, including the instrument, tripod, prism, rods and data collectors. The set up and assembly of each will be covered as well as the leveling and site selection for the tripod. Basic care, calibration and maintenance will be addressed. The CSI Mobile software – including the main menu, general user interface and the options available to you – will be explained and displayed.

You will work in teams to measure a minimum of 6 crash or crime scenes using a total station and CSI Mobile software. Proper setup, leveling and new job creation will be emphasized and you will be shown the practical uses of reference points and backsite concepts. Simultaneous linework creation will be utilized throughout the exercises. You will learn methods to move the total station around within the scene in order to become familiar with both resection and traverse functionality. We will also introduce the point and line offset functions within CSI Mobile.

Finally, you will be shown the process for downloading jobs from the data collectors to a USB drive. Additional functionality, including Stake Point options to relocate measured data in the field, adding notes to the data, and Point to Point measurements, will be illustrated. The different file types that are downloadable will be explained and viewed.

Topics Include

  • Concepts of total station measurements
  • Coordinate geometry
  • Total station nomenclature
  • CSI Mobile software overview
  • Skid marks and vehicle speeds
  • Scene creation
  • Total station movement
  • Advanced functions and downloading


Law enforcement and private crash investigators and reconstructionists, crime scene investigators

Course Length

40 hours


Previous training in traffic crash or crime scene investigations helpful, but not mandatory.


If you already have a laser mapping system, please bring it with you to class. Although not required, you are encouraged to bring a laptop computer with you.


Currently, there are no open enrollment classes scheduled for this course.  Click here to continue searching for other courses.