15 March 2001


The FBI Fingerprint Image Compression Standard

"This page contains a summary of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's image coding standard for digitized fingerprints, developed and maintained by the FBI, Los Alamos National Lab, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. The standard is a discrete wavelet transform-based algorithm referred to as Wavelet/Scalar Quantization (WSQ).

Summary and Examples:

The goal of this project is to design and implement a national standard for coding and compression of digitized fingerprint images. The FBI is digitizing the nation's fingerprint database at 500 dots per inch with 8 bits of grayscale resolution. At this rate, a single fingerprint card turns into about 10 MB of data!"

Here's a sample fingerprint image measuring 768 x 768 pixels (= 589,824 bytes):