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Effect of Image Size and Compression on One-to-One Fingerprint Matching



Craig I. Watson, Charles L. Wilson


NIST has conducted testing of one-to-one fingerprint matching systems to evaluate the effect of image size and compression on the accuracy of the one-to-one matching process. Images from three live-scan fingerprint scanners collected by the Departments of State and Homeland Security were used as test samples. Image sizes from 368 pixels by 368 pixels down to 180 pixels by 180 pixels were tested and compression ratios from no compression up to 30 to 1 were tested. Three commercial fingerprint-matching systems were used in the test. The results of the study show that image cropping quickly degrade matcher performance. Compression degrades matcher performance more slowly and may, for compression ratios of 15 to 1, increase performance. Image sizes below 320 by 320 should not be used. Image compression in the range up 20 to 1 produces minimal effects on fingerprint matching accuracy.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7201
Report Number


accuracy, biometrics, compression, fingerprints, image size


Watson, C. and Wilson, C. (2005), Effect of Image Size and Compression on One-to-One Fingerprint Matching, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created February 1, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017