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What We Do
Investigators look for fingerprints, bullets and cartridge cases, shoeprints, tool marks, and tire treads at a crime scene. These are examples of pattern and impression evidence produced when one object comes into contact with another. NIST researchers are working to develop standards, data, methods and tools that provide forensic science laboratories with fast and accurate methods to match pattern evidence from a crime scene to a suspect.
One focus of our work in this area involves latent fingerprint examination. For instance, we have developed an online tool that helps identify factors that lead to errors in latent fingerprint examination and that will contribute a a system-based approach for minimizing errors. More information on this project is available at the Human Factors in Latent Print Examination Portal.
We have also supported the development of a test that helps forensic laboratory managers identify applicants with the aptitude and skills to become successful latent print examiners. Part of this test involves pattern-matching, and you can try out your skills on some sample questions here.
Projects and Programs
Data, Standards, & Guidelines
- Latent Fingerprint Process Map Poster (pdf)
- NIST Special Database 4: 8-Bit Gray Scale Images of Fingerprint Image Groups
- NIST Special Database 24: Digital Video of Live-Scan Fingerprint Data
- NIST Special Database 30: Dual Resolution Images from Paired Fingerprint Cards
- NIST Special Database 27: Fingerprint Minutiae from Latent and Matching Tenprint Images
- NIST Special Database 9: Mated Fingerprint Card Pairs (Volumes 1-5)
- NIST Special Database 10: Supplemental Fingerprint Card Data for NIST Special Database 9
- NIST Special Database 14: Mated Fingerprint Card Pairs 2
- NIST Special Database 28: National Software Reference Library
- NIST Special Database 29: Plain and Rolled Images from Paired Fingerprint Cards
- The Biometric and Forensic Research Dataset Catalog: a comprehensive catalog of publicly available biometric and forensic datasets for finger/palmprints, iris, face, person at a distance, voice, and handwriting.