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Fingerprint Image Quality



Elham Tabassi, Charles Wilson, Craig I. Watson


In this report, we propose a new definition of quality of fingerprint impressions and present detailed algorithms to measure image quality for fingerprints. We define fingerprint image quality as a predictor of matcher performance before a matcher algorithm is applied. This means presenting the matcher with good quality fingerprint images will result in high matcher performance, and vice versa, the matcher will perform poorly for poor quality fingerprints. We also have carried out an objective evaluation of the quality assessment of fingerprint images. Our quality measure is implemented in the C programming language and has been tested on 20 different live scan and paper fingerprints datasets collected in different operational settings. Our implementation is publicly, but export controlled, available as part of NIST's fingerprint software distribution.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7151
Report Number


fingerprint, matching, quality, biometrics


Tabassi, E. , Wilson, C. and Schlenoff, C. (2004), Fingerprint Image Quality, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created April 13, 2004, Updated June 9, 2021