Detail Archives    Discuss This Issue    Subscribe to The Detail Fingerprint News Archive       Search Past Details

G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, April 10, 2006

The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Beauty of Fingerprints INSIDE BAY AREA, CA - APRIL 5, 2006 can see their design, lines and structure -- the beauty of fingerprints...

Private Forensic Examinations Proposed NEWSROOM, NEW ZEALAND - April 5, 2006 ...private investigators are proposing carrying out forensic examinations at burglaries...

Fingerprint Device May Help Find Terrorists   IRISH EXAMINER, UK - April 5, 2006 ...developing technology that recovers fingerprints from metal surfaces such as bomb fragments and gun cartridges...

Fingerprints Sought For All Charged   HENDERSON GLEANER, KY - April 4, 2006 ...anyone booked for a crime -- from low-level petty offenses to the more serious variety -- would have their fingerprints copied...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist

Fingerprint Society
charlton97 70 Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:57 pm

66% of Scottish public support a public enquiry
Iain McKie 48 Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:11 am

Daubert v. Kelly
Charles Parker 266 Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:57 am

LPE Opening - Viva Las Vegas!
Alice Maceo 446 Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:00 pm

Titanium Dioxide for latent print processing
jonahbee 128 Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:36 pm

To fume or not to fume?
jonahbee 112 Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:45 pm

FBI Training - Latent Print Daubert Issues
Steve Everist 115 Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:57 pm

'Spinning out of control'
charlton97 932 Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:12 am

International experts to provide SCRO plan
clpexco 226 Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:23 pm

[ Poll ] "Point" Standard
ccpereira 937 Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:11 pm

Help w/ Master's Thesis
Rebecca W 590 Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:24 pm



No major updates on the site this week.


Some time ago, [Keele University in the UK] discussed the intention to name the new forensic science laboratories after Dr. Henry Faulds. I am pleased to be able to tell you now that the university has approved this. It is our intention to hold the formal (but quite modest) ceremony on or around June the 1st 2006. We would be delighted if you, your colleagues from the Faulds Foundation and Dr. Faulds relatives could come to Keele for this event. I would much appreciate if could pass this information to everyone interested and if you and others would be able to come to Keele. Please note, there is no pressure time wise, as all the preparations are likely to take place in May - the university life is rather slow at Easter time.

Best wishes for Easter holidays,
Vladimir Zholobenko.

Vladimir Zholobenko
Keele University
Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
phone: 44 (0)1782 584352
fax: 44 (0)1782 712378

A few announcements from Joe Polski, COO of the IAI:

2006 Boston Conference 

Due to unprecedented pre-registration for the Boston Conference, hotel rooms at the Marriott Copley Hotel, the conference headquarters are almost completely sold out.  The IAI has contracted with a Marriott Courtyard Hotel as noted below as the overflow conference hotel.  Be sure to tell them you are attending the IAI conference in order to book at the conference rate.  We are investigating yet another over flow hotel if the Marriott Courtyard fills up.  The overflow hotel is:

Courtyard Boston Tremont Hotel
275 Tremont Street
Boston, MA  02116
Room Rate:  $179.00

Please call 1-800-321-2211 or 1-617-426-1400 to make reservations.   

The Courtyard Boston Tremont is 8 city blocks (less than 1 mile) from the host hotel and you can walk out of the front door of the Courtyard, go across the street to the Orange Line of the “T” (subway) then travel one stop to the Back Bay. The Marriott is a 2 minute walk from there.  The cost for the subway is $1.25 one-way


Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations (CFSO) Technology Fair

The Third Annual CFSO Congressional Technology Fair was held on April 5th, 2006 in the Senate Hart Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Approximately 15 vendors to the forensics community attended this event and displayed products ranging from AFIS, image enhancement equipment, sophisticated equipment to locate and identify body fluids, 3 dimensional crime scene and accident investigation cameras and a hand held explosive detection device.  NIJ, the FRN and Carol Henderson’s forensic research repository in Florida also exhibited. 

The turnout of staff and Senators was slightly less then usual this year due to the floor debate taking place on the 5th dealing with the very controversial Immigration Bill.  That caused a number of conflicting priorities for senators and staffers.

Dr. Henry Lee attended and was his usual, gregarious self.  Senator Richard Shelby from Alabama was this year’s recipient of the CFSO Award for exceptional support to forensic science.  Dr. Lee was kind enough to present the award to Senator Shelby who, as Chair of the Senate’s Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Sub-Committee, is a strong advocate of preserving the Coverdell funding and, in fact, caused that to remain in the appropriations language.

In the morning, several of us met with Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, a consistent, strong supporter of forensic science in the Senate and under whose sponsorship, the Tech Fair was conducted.  Without his strong and continuing support, we would not have been able to hold such an event.  We had a “mobile meeting” (a new Washington term!!) with Senator Sessions as he traveled on the secure, internal subway/rail system between his Senate office and the Capitol.  Quite the experience.  Our thanks also to Beth Lavach, the CFSO’s Washington, DC lobbyist who is our everyday presence in Washington and really makes all this happen.

Prior to the Tech Fair, Melissa Milburn, the CFSO’s publicist, sent a flock of press releases to many media outlets.  Quite surprisingly, the show Good Morning America called and wanted to do a piece on the fair.  Their crew spent over two hours on site with us and produced a segment that aired on Thursday, April 6th.  That was quite an accomplishment and one that gave a number of vendors huge media exposure.  That is the first time the Tech Fair event has received this sort of media coverage and, we hope, not the last.


Any IAI members who have not paid their 2006 dues are now dropped from membership although we will continue to process dues payments and reinstate those who pay.  If you have not yet paid dues, please do so as soon as possible and encourage any co-workers to do that same.  Thanks for your help!!


Please note that applications are now being accepted by NIJ for the Coverdell Grant Program.  Applications must be received by May 16, 2006.  Please see the following website for complete information including instructions on how to apply.  Coverdell Grant funding can be used for any purpose and is the program that is likely the most useful to IAI members and their organizations.


An important objective of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division is to keep our strategic law enforcement partners informed of the current status of our initiatives and programs. In an effort to achieve that objective, CJIS hosted CJIS Overview Training Sessions in 2004 and 2005 at our facility in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Due to the positive feedback received, another CJIS Overview Training Session is scheduled at the CJIS Division for August 8-10, 2006.

Discussion will include, but is not limited to, an overview of the following CJIS systems and programs and will include an optional tour of the CJIS facility:

  • Crime Statistics
  • Law Enforcement National Data Exchange
  • Identification and Investigative Services Section (IISS)
  • National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
  • National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
  • CJIS Audit Unit (CAU)
  • CJIS Legal Programs
  • Information Security Officer (ISO) Program
  • Law Enforcement Online (LEO)
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)
  • Programs Development Section (PDS)
  • The Advisory Process
  • Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA)

In addition, time will be allocated for attendees to meet individually with subject matter experts on topics of their choosing.

There is no cost associated with the CJIS Overview Training Sessions. However, all travel and lodging costs incurred will be at your agency's expense. Attendance is limited to the first 90 registrations and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Individuals with LEO access can learn more about the event at the following link:



Last week

Steve Scarborough brought us a look at how to incorporate ACE into latent print examiner testimony summation.

This week

we hear about last week's NIST Latent Testing Workshop.

2006 NIST Latent Testing Workshop

by Kasey Wertheim

Last week, April 5-6, 2006, NIST held a Latent Testing Workshop at their campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Approximately 50 attendees were present for 2 full days consisting mostly of a series of 20-minute lectures on various aspects of latent prints. The goal of the workshop was to bring together practitioners and academics so NIST could map a pathway toward creating latent sample sets sufficient for automated latent testing. The end goal is a “Latent Grand Challenge” where NIST can process standardized test sets through various combinations of latent print extraction and search algorithms provided by vendors.

The workshop presentations began with briefs by Steve Meagher (FBI/Lab), Kasey Wertheim (DoD) and Danny Greathouse (DHS) on federal/military aspects of latent print needs. This was complimented by the next hour, which included presentations from Thomas Smith (LAPD), Frank Sinese (Illinois) with perspectives on live-scan.  Scott Swann (FBI/CJIS) defined NGI initiatives and specifically discussed the development of a National Marketing Plan for latent prints along with increases in latent print search reliability as a part of algorithm improvements.

Debbie Leben (USSS) spoke on needed improvements for the Universal Latent Workstation:
*Maintain feature sets during cropping, image reversal, and changes in orientation,
*Add filters for use in combination, not just individually: Unsharp mask, pattern removal, fade filter
*Ridge counting, including additional clarification on what to count
*More efficient comparison capabilities, including auto-sizing the latent and tenprint
*Ability to view features on the latent and the tenprint that produced the score
*Ability to know the image being viewed was the image that produced the score
*Case archive/saving option
*Reporting and statistics, which will involve recording hit/no-hit decisions and user profiles
*Queued submission and timed release capability
*Latent sizing ability for non 1:1 latent prints
*Ability to format and submit multi-finger latents, or simultaneous pattern information
*Lights-out auto-search by clusters
*Ability to encode and search Complete Friction Ridge Exemplars
*Ability to search by group (crime type) or region (geographical search)
*Refined ULM receipt process: Single candidates instead of multiple candidates per submission, and real-time ULM reporting (as opposed to batch processing in IAFIS)

Gordon Lowe (CalDOJ), Wade Petroka and Jeri Eaton (King County Washington) spoke on local AFIS issues and needs.

Ambika Suman spoke on the PITO latent test design for the Ident1 benchmark in the UK.

Mark Branchflower discussed the role of latent prints at Interpol as increasing, and that two positions would soon be approved for full-time latent print examiners.

Several AFIS vendors (Sagem Morpho, Cogent, NEC, Motorola) spoke on new and improved functions and capabilities leading to better performance of latent algorithms.

Philip Wasserman from NIST presented "Level 3 Fingerprint Feature Recognition Using Support Vector Machines"  In cases where level 1 and 2 detail (patterns and minutia) are not sufficient to permit identification, trained human examiners rely on level 3 features such as the position and size of sweat pores, incipient ridges, edge formations and other fine detail. Achieving this level of AFIS processing requires machine intelligence that performs on par with the accuracy of the Latent Print Examiner. Sample collection involved an experienced examiner “marking” (selecting) an example of a level 3 feature by clicking on its location in a computerized image. A set of features was extracted from the region around the selected point and the set was used to train an SVM. The trained machine was used to classify samples not included in its training set. Vapnik (1995) provides a highly effective means for pattern classification and regression. SVM provides a more global solution in contrast to a neural network where many non-optimal solutions result. The preliminary results, while encouraging, are not conclusive. Additional examples must be collected to produce statistically significant accuracy estimates.

Yi Chen (co-researcher, Anil Jain, Michigan State University) presented "Pores and Ridges: High Resolution Fingerprint Matching Using Level 3 Features"  Although experienced latent print examiners often rely on level 3 detail to assist in identification, AFIS mostly rely on Level 1 and Level 2 features. With advances in sensing technology, many sensors are now equipped with 1000ppi scanning capability and systematic studies of performance gain need to be conducted in this area. Level 3 features can be automatically extracted by combining images subsequent to wavelet transform and Gabor filtering. Their experiments show that level 3 features carry significant discriminatory information and can be locally matched using “the ICP algorithm”. They showed a relative reduction of 20% in the equal error rate of the matching system when level 3 features are employed in combination with levels 1 and 2, across a variety of fingerprint image quality. Images were shown of extracted images displaying pore location and ridge edge tracings.

Nigel Allinson from the University of Sheffield presented work that has been done in England to support the Lincolnshire Police.  They have equipped their crime scene officers with laptops and scanners capable of scanning 1000ppi images.  Nigel and his team wrote software that allows them to save JPEG 2000 (JP2) images at 16:1 compression, and securely transmit them with PGP Private/Public key incription back to the AFIS section where they can immediately been encoded and searched in AFIS.  On average, they have taken backlog times from 14 days to 1 day, and in their fastest response time provided police a lead less than 3 hours after they had arrived on scene.  When they arrived at the suspect's home, he was found asleep and all the stolen goods were still in his custody.

Tom Hopper spoke on ULW, Elham Tabassi spoke on the NIST Quality Workshop, and George Kiebuzinski spoke on lessons learned during IAFIS source selection.

Kasey Wertheim spoke on 7 Latent Print Quality Measures:
Quantity: square area
Clarity: quality, focus, resolution, crispness
Contrast: ridge to furrow difference in grayscale intensity
Pressure: ridge to furrow difference in width/thickness
Slippage: measure of lateral pressure, smearing (difficult to quantify)
Background: interference of the background – texture/pattern prominence
Focal Points: present/absence of delta, core, scars, creases, or other major features.

Some of these “human” measures of quality (or latent print “difficulty” to compare) may be applied locally in an automated way to boost or reduce scoring (as appropriate) during the matching process to increase reliability and selectivity.

Patrick Grother of NIST spoke on offline biometric testing and Stephen Wood discussed latent test sets (including the NIST Special Database (SD) 27 and a Secret Service (non-public) database of 1000 latent prints).   There is a need for additional databases containing a statistically significant number of cases representative of all latent prints, not just AFIS suitable or AFIS matchable latents. Vladmir Dvornychencko proposed outreach to smaller agencies for 50 samples each.  Mike Garris closed out the conference with a proposal for a latent testing methodology.  In general, it was proposed that an upcoming test evaluate latent fingerprint algorithms from multiple vendors using the following factors:
LFIS versus LFFS
Human versus Machine Encoding
Latent against Tenprint versus Tenprint against Latent
SDK testing model using Subroutine and API for 1) Encoder 2) Matcher 3) Score Normalization
Back End score-based metrics (ROC, DET, Imposter/Genuine disbributions per vendor)
1-1 match scores proposed, but arguments ensued for 1:N
“open” forum prior to a “Latent Search Grand Challenge”

The workshop closed with a discussion of Extended Feature Sets to include potentially major improvements for latent print standards.


Feel free to pass The Detail along to other examiners.  This is a free newsletter FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.

If you have not yet signed up to receive the Weekly Detail in YOUR e-mail inbox, go ahead and join the list now so you don't miss out!  (To join this free e-mail newsletter, enter your name and e-mail address on the following page:  You will be sent a Confirmation e-mail... just click on the link in that e-mail, or paste it into an Internet Explorer address bar, and you are signed up!)  If you have problems receiving the Detail from a work e-mail address, there have been past issues with department e-mail filters considering the Detail as potential unsolicited e-mail.  Try subscribing from a home e-mail address or contact your IT department to allow e-mails from Topica.  Members may unsubscribe at any time.  If you have difficulties with the sign-up process or have been inadvertently removed from the list, e-mail me personally at and I will try to work things out.

Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!