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ANSI/NIST-ITL Standard 2010 Workshop

The standard was first published in 1986 and focused on the exchange of fingerprint information. It has been updated several times, with the latest being the 2007 and 2008 versions. They included updates to handle iris data, data conformant to other standards, and updates to facial and fingerprint data specifications. The two versions are character-separated (binary/traditional) [2007] and NIEM-conformant XML [2008].

This year, several substantial updates have been proposed to NIST-ITL by various organizations. Each will be addressed during the workshop. A DRAFT version of the standard and annexes, incorporating these changes are available below for your review prior to the meeting. Each change area is color coded throughout the text, using the colors that describe the change in the Introduction.

A major change is that the 2007 and 2008 versions are combined. In the main body of the document, the content of the records is described. Encoding directions are separated into annexes. Thus, the character-separated (binary/traditional) encoding rules are in one annex and the NIEM-conformant XML rules in another. This format allows for additional encodings to be added without proliferating the number of versions, and running the risk of one version being updated and others lagging in their revisions. A new encoding (short-tag) is introduced in this version. The tags correspond to the character-separated labels (typically 3 letters). This has particular use for applications with limited bandwidth (like mobile). A comparison of the two XML encodings for transmission of a fingerprint card are available here:      

NIEM-conformant XML

Short-tag XML

A modified draft is now available:      

Draft 2 has been updated in Record Type 18 (DNA)

Note that the encoding descriptions are not part of the standard itself. Documents associated with the standard:

  1. Traditional Encoding
  2. NIEM-Conformant Encoding
  3. Short Format Readable Encoding
  4. ASN.1 Encoding 

Additional files relating to the standard are available here:

  1. NCIC Codes
  2. DNA PCR Kit Name
  3. Best Practices for Facial Image Capture
  4. Glossary/Crosswalk for Field Specifications

Background and Briefing information:

  1. "Standardizing a More Complete Set of Fingerprint Features", Briefing at the International Association for Identification conference, San Diego California, 24 July 2007.
  2. "Extended Friction Ridge Feature Sets", Briefing at the NIST Latent Workshop, Gaithersburg Maryland, 18 March 2009.
  3. "Guidelines for Extended Feature Set Markup of Friction Ridge Images", Working Draft Version 0.3, 12 June 2009.
  4. At the ANSI/NIST ITL 1-2000 Standard Workshop I in April 2005, SWGFAST (Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study, and Technology) was tasked to identify, define and provide guidance on additional fingerprint features beyond the traditional ending ridges and bifurcations currently defined in the ANSI/NIST ITL-2000 standard (which is the basis for the FBI's EFTS, and Interpol's INT-I). In response SWGFAST drafted a memo to Mike McCabe at NIST enumerating the features used by expert human latent examiners that are not currently addressed in fingerprint feature standards.

Issues Log


This workshop was designed to get input from the canvassees and other interested parties in the proposed content for a revision to the ANSI/NIST-ITL standard. Since the 2007 and 2008 versions of the standard were published, a modification to a table to reflect codes for mobile devices was adopted in the ANSI/NIST-ITL 1a-2009 amendment.

The Standards Coordinator for ANSI/NIST-ITL had received several comments for additions, modifications and corrections to the existing versions of the standard in the period late 2008-early 2010. Some of these involved the creation of new record types and new fields. In order to present these suggestions and gauge the desirability of including such revisions in a final draft (to be voted up or down by the canvassees), he decided to convene a workshop. In April 2010, he posted a first draft of the revised standard to get feedback on the content and style of a proposed new version of the standard. The Standards Coordinator also collated and made available online comments and questions that he received concerning the principal issues related to the standard. Based on the comments, questions and revision content, a set of 42 'issues' evolved that were presented to the attendees of the workshop in order to solicit their views.

The Standards Coordinator advertised the workshop at several meetings and conventions over the year period prior to its occurrence. It was also advertised on the ANSI/NIST-ITL webpage and in publications of ANSI. In addition, he sent emails to registered canvassees from the previous iterations of ANSI/NIST-ITL standard development.

Workshop Summary:

The workshop was held at NIST on July 27-29, 2010. On the first day, following a welcome by the Standards Coordinator (Brad Wing), Mike Hogan presented the NIST/ITL Procedures for the Development of American National Standards (ANSI) Using the Canvass Method. A copy of this presentation was included in the folders provided each participant in the workshop.

This was followed by Use Case presentations:

Following the Use Case presentations, volunteers presented the reasons underpinning many of the suggested revisions to the standard. This part of the workshop was developed solely to presentations, with questions and answers being reserved for the following days. The presentations were:

· Deprecation 2 fields in Record Type 10 (Mike McCabe) (No presentation slides available)

Other presentations on Days 2 and three were:

Unfortunately, time did not allow for one scheduled presentation on the third day:

· Compression Studies at NIST (Shahram Orandi)

The principal part of the workshop was devoted to discussion of the various proposals concerning the standard, and taking polls of the views of the workshop participants on the issues. In addition to the 42 issues listed prior to the workshop, several new issues arose and were voted upon. The summary is not in the order that they occurred during the meeting, but rather in the order of issues presented on the handout contained in the participants' folders. This summary does not capture all of the points raised during the workshop.

Several issues resulted in the formation of working groups. They are to begin on August 15, 2010 and submit their results to the Standards Coordinator on November 15. The working groups are open to all interested parties. During the workshop, a chairperson volunteered to head each one, and a description of the working group's purposed was described. Initial volunteers were solicited for each working group. It is possible that the note takers did not capture all persons' names. The list therefore is preliminary. Please notify the working group chair if you would like to participate in a group. Note: The Standards Coordinator will participate in all working groups.

The working groups and their chairs are listed below:

DNA Working Group: Scott Carey        scott.carey [at] (scott[dot]carey[at]ic[dot]fbi[dot]gov)

Iris Record Updates Working Group: Patrick Grother        pgrother [at] NIST.Gov (pgrother[at]NIST[dot]Gov)

Information Assurance Record Working Group: Eric Albertine        ejalber [at] (ejalber[at]nsa[dot]gov)

Geographic Reference Field Working Group: Bonny Scheier        saberbgs [at] (saberbgs[at]gmail[dot]com)

TOT Field Working Group: Brian Finegold       brian.finegold [at] (brian[dot]finegold[at]noblis[dot]org)

Original Reference Image Record Working Group: John Mayer-Splain        John.Mayer-Splain [at] (John[dot]Mayer-Splain[at]Noblis[dot]org)

Face Best Practice Document Working Group: Scott Swann        bscott.swann [at] (bscott[dot]swann[at]leo[dot]gov)

Voice Record Working Group: Bonny Scheier        saberbgs [at] (saberbgs[at]gmail[dot]com)

NIEM Biometrics Domain Working Group: Anthony Hoang        anthony.hoang [at] (anthony[dot]hoang[at]dhs[dot]gov)

Composite fingerprint images Working Group: Scott Swann        bscott.swann [at] (bscott[dot]swann[at]leo[dot]gov)

Resolution Description & References Working Group: John Mayer-Splain        John.Mayer-Splain [at] (John[dot]Mayer-Splain[at]Noblis[dot]org)

Traditional Encoding Rules Working Group: John Mayer-Splain        John.Mayer-Splain [at] (John[dot]Mayer-Splain[at]Noblis[dot]org)

NIEM-Conformant XML Encoding Rules Working Group: Gerry Coleman        Gerry.Coleman [at] (Gerry[dot]Coleman[at]trustedfederal[dot]com)

Conformance Working Group: Mike Hogan        m.hogan [at] (m[dot]hogan[at]nist[dot]gov)

Definition and Use of Fields 9.800-899 Working Group: Mike McCabe        mmccabe [at] (mmccabe[at]comcast[dot]net)

Extension of Record Type 10 images Working Group: Timo Ruhland        Timo.Ruhland [at] (Timo[dot]Ruhland[at]bka[dot]bund[dot]de)

The Standards Coordinator will prepare a new draft version of the updated standard, based upon the output of the working groups, with a target release date in early January. He will examine possible dates for a second workshop in late January or early February in order for participants to express views concerning the latest version of the standard. Following that workshop, a final version of the draft standard will be prepared and submitted for vote by the canvassees.

Coincidentally, an audit of ANSI/NIST-ITL by ANSI is scheduled for AUGUST 2011. Hopefully, the standard will be adopted by then so that it can be included in this audit cycle.

Proposed changes:

  1. Merging of the traditional and NIEM-conformant XML versions of the standard and addition of a short-tag XML encoding; and correction of known errors
  2. Addition of a DNA record
  3. Separation of Type 10 record into Face (only) and SMT (only)
  4. Inclusion of the Extended Feature Set for latent print encoding and extension of the palm print codes to include 'grasp'
  5. Inclusion of the table update from ANSI/NIST-ITL 1a-2009 Updates to iris encoding to reflect the IREX study
  6. Updates to reflect the Mobile ID Device Best Practice Recommendations, and inclusion of ability to handle scan resolutions other than 500, 1000, and 2000 ppi. Recommendations
  7. Deprecation of Record Types 3 & 5
  8. Addition of a record for plantars (footprints)
  9. Making the Domain name mandatory
  10. Addition of a record to handle original images and chain-of-custody logs
  11. Addition of a placeholder record for voice data
  12. Addition of a geographic location field
  13. Expansion of the TOT field
  14. Deprecation of Field 10.021 in favor of field 10.025
  15. Addition of a field in image record containing a hash of the image data, which can be used to determine if an exact duplicate of the image already exists in a large database.


Created August 26, 2010, Updated June 2, 2021