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INCITS Standardized Biometric Data

Examples of INCITS data format interchange standard records

This page documents NIST's release of samples conforming to the INCITS 378-2004 (finger minutiae), INCITS 381-2004 (finger image) and INCITS 385-2004 (face recognition format) American National Standards. These standards were developed in the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) Technical Committee M1 - Biometrics.

INCITS biometric standards have been adopted for use in various government programs including the Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors program developed by NIST. Their use is specified in FIPS 201 and NIST Special Publication 800-76-1. Thus the data contained in this distribution are files containing standardized biometric data blocks plus the CBEFF header specified for PIV by SP 800-76. Applications other than PIV might use a CBEFF header conformant to another CBEFF patron format. CBEFF, the Common Biometric Exchange Format Framework, is standardized as INCITS 398. Note that because the records do not contain the RFC 3852 signature blocks mandated by FIPS 201 they would fail a conformance test.


Three gzip compressed tar archives are linked in the bulleted list below. The archives contain samples produced from images previously published in NIST Special Database 29.

The minutiae templates were produced from the index finger images using NIST's open-source template generator. Although these templates are syntactically conformant to the INCITS 378 standard they are not conformant to the minutiae placement guidance of clause 5 of INCITS 378. Minutiae placement was identified as a performance related issue in a NIST presentation at the September 2006 Biometric Consortium conference. Thus the records provided here are intended only for testing of INCITS 378 parsers.

Please note that NIST's software used in the production of these examples is available as free open-source software.

Contributions and comments are welcome and should be directed to the technical contacts Wayne Salamon and Patrick Grother.




Created May 19, 2010, Updated November 15, 2019