When contacted by Oregon law firm Bullivant Houser Bailey to create a visualization for a legal case, I knew my 3D skills would come in handy. The firm was defending their client from liability for faulty hazardous waste disposal that was detectable in the Milwaukie public water supply.
I started by downloading very precise DEM files for the area, (Digital Elevation Models; public domain from the US Geological Survey). In 3D software, I mapped these polygonal meshes with aerial surface photos and colorized the defendent's property. Then I positioned the city water wells with the intakes shown at the correct depths.
Then came the magic. I used dynamic physics and particle effects to simulate the underground river known to parallel the highway, and let the program render how the water would naturally flow. I layered this last map in color on top in blue.
Although the result of the 3D software simulation was not admissable as scientific evidence, it did make a very powerful argument for the case. In the end, I believe my client won, by proving that the spill must have originated from another property.