U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

ACEware Latent Fingerprint Identification Research and Software Development.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $499,942)

Law enforcement organizations vary greatly in how latent print examiners are trained and how operational latent print examination is documented. As underscored by the National Research Council report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, there exists a need for automated tools that can provide more rigorous and consistent training, greater standardization of documentation for operational casework, automated process control and quality assurance, and performance evaluation of latent examiners. The hypothesis exists that if latent print examiners were trained using this state of the art tool, the manner in which they arrive at a conclusion, and the conclusion itself, will be significantly more consistent across the community of latent print examiners. Noblis proposes to develop a software application named ACEware. ACEware will be an Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, and Verification (ACE-V) application software program that would provide a tool for latent print examiner trainees and qualified, case-working latent print examiners to precisely document the examination process, using quantifiable international standards. ACEware will facilitate examiner training, increase the automation and standardization of operational casework, provide a standardized approach for applying the ACE method, facilitate the development of standard datasets for training and evaluation, provide a basis for metric-based quality assurance, and serve as a basis for analytical examiner performance evaluations. ACEware will include the following key capabilities: 1) Comprehensive ACE-V training that will include tutorials, examples of markups as determined by skilled examiners, and an interactive training capability 2) Support a common platform for the latent print community that performs automated operational casework within the ACE-V process, i.e., contemporaneous capture of examiners Analysis to include minutiae, creases, scars, distortion, etc. and all subsequent changes to the original Analysis 3) Provide compliance with the Extended Feature Set (EFS) format as defined in the ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2011 standard, enabling interoperability with the FBIs Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, all major AFIS vendors, and analytical tools 4) Include tools to develop and package datasets of annotated finger- and palmprints for training, enabling the development of standard public datasets, and enabling agencies to develop datasets for internal training 5) Enable latent examiner performance self-evaluation and peer evaluation 6) Enable direct interoperability between Analysis phase annotation and AFIS searching 7) Provide a standard platform for collection of data and performance metrics The project will include an evaluation of the examiner training using ACEware and will provide metrics as to the overall process allowing researchers to develop more effective measures for managing latent print processing. In addition, the development of ACEware will result in the ability to create expert marked data for use by the Research community. The achievement of these goals and objectives will be realized incrementally. ACEware will be developed as an extension of the FBIs Universal Latent Workstation, which was designed and developed by Noblis. By building on ULW, ACEware will be able to take advantage of the extensive capabilities of the ULW platform, and the ACEware functionality and data can be broadly distributed to law enforcement agencies on a no fee basis as ULW has been distributed. In order to validate that the resulting software is operationally relevant, if the ACEware project is funded, the FBI Laboratory and latent print units in other law enforcement agencies with be requested to review, test, and validate ACEware during its development cycle and provide feedback. ca/ncf

Date Created: August 28, 2013