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Biometric Application Programming Interface (BioAPI) Conformance Test Suite

The information on this page is no longer updated. It is retained for historical purposes.

Responding to legislative, government and market requirements for biometric open-system standards, NIST is supporting the development of formal national and international biometric standards and associated conformity assessment. In order to achieve this goal, NIST works in coordination with other government agencies, industry, academic institutions and other research organizations. NIST's Biometrics Standards Program, provides leadership to the national and the international biometric standards development bodies, including committee officers and technical editors and also provides technical expertise for critical standards development projects.

Standards-based conformance testing tools help both developers and users by validating conformance claims, leading to greatly increased levels of confidence in products. Conformance testing can also help ensure interoperability between standards-based products and systems.

NIST/ITL's BioAPI CTS beta implementation, also known as the "Biometric Test Environment (BTE)" is based on the fourth draft M1/06-0073 (1.2MB) of a conformance testing methodology for ANSI INCITS 358-2002 standard under development in the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) Technical Committee M1 – Biometrics. NIST/ITL and Department of Defense (DoD) Biometric Management Office (BMO) co-sponsored the development of the conformance testing methodology standard together with the National Biometric Security Project (NBSP), Saflink Corp., and The Biometric Foundation (TBF).This standard specifies a methodology to test conformance of Biometric Service Providers (BSPs) to the BioAPI standard.

Since this version of the NIST/ITL's BioAPI CTS implementation is based on a standard under development, it is possible that changes to the standard may lead to changes in the CTS software.

The BioAPI CTS implementation was developed to help users verify the conformance of BSPs to ANSI INCITS 358-2002, the BioAPI Specification 1.1. Additional goals are to support product developers interested in conforming to biometric standards by using the same testing tools available to users and the possible establishment of conformity assessment programs to validate conformance to the BioAPI standard and other biometric standards.

The Department of Defense (DoD) Biometric Management Office (BMO) has developed a similar BioAPI CTS implementation based on the same documentary standard. NIST/ITL and DoD BMO have performed coordinated testing of both NIST/ITL's and DoD BMO's BioAPI CTS beta implementations in order to cross-validate the test results using a number of vendor BSPs claiming conformance to the BioAPI standard. Information on DoD BMO's CTS tool can be found at the DoD BMO's web site.

The National Biometric Security Project (NBSP) co-sponsored the development of NIST/ITL's BioAPI CTS implementation through its collaborative agreement with Saflink Corp. and also supported The Biometric Foundation who collaborated with NIST/ITL in performing the required tests.

The initial version of the BioAPI Specification was developed by the BioAPI Consortium as BioAPI Specification 1.0. ANSI INCITS 358-2002 BioAPI Specification, is an American National Standard approved and published by the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1) Subcommittee 37 (SC 37) (select SC37 – Biometrics) developed an international version of the BioAPI specification (which was recently approved as an International Standard). It is also developing the associated conformance testing methodology standard.

Send comments and suggestions on the NIST/ITL's Biometric Application Programming Interface (BioAPI) Conformance Test Suite (CTS) to BioAPICTS [at] (BioAPICTS[at]nist[dot]gov)




Created February 4, 2010, Updated June 9, 2020