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Tattoo Recognition Technology - Challenge (Tatt-C): Outcomes and Recommendations



Mei L. Ngan, George W. Quinn, Patrick J. Grother


Tattoos have been used for many years to assist law enforcement in investigations leading to the identification of both criminals and victims. A tattoo is an elective biometric trait that contains additional discriminative information to support person identification and investigation than traditional soft biometrics such as age, gender and race. While some research has been done in the area of image- based tattoo detection and retrieval, it is not a mature domain. There were no common datasets to evaluate and develop operationally-relevant tattoo recognition applications. To address this, NIST conducted the Tattoo Recognition Technology - Challenge (Tatt-C), an initial research challenge that provided operational data and use cases to engage the research community into advancing research and development into automated image-based tattoo technologies and to assess the state-of-the-art to determine what methods are effective and viable for five pertinent operational scenarios.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8078
Report Number


tattoo, tattoo recognition, biometrics


Ngan, M. , Quinn, G. and Grother, P. (2015), Tattoo Recognition Technology - Challenge (Tatt-C): Outcomes and Recommendations, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created September 15, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018