Fingerprint template formats

This site carries functionally complete summaries of fingerprint template formats published by ANSI and ISO. These summaries are sufficiently detailed to allow development of fully compliant implementations without having to buy the original specifications from ANSI and ISO. All format summaries are distributed free of charge under permissive Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License in order to enable truly open implementation in opensource software.

To give a very brief introduction, fingerprint template is an intermediate data format, essentially a file, used in human fingerprint recognition algorithms that carries interesting fingerprint features found on the fingerprint. Most fingerprint recognition algorithms have their native template format that fits the algorithm. Sharing templates between algorithms is a bad idea, but organizations like ANSI and ISO have nevertheless developed shared template formats, which now have numerous implementations.

All format descriptions have been written by Robert Važan as part of his work on opensource SourceAFIS and FingerprintIO libraries. Author has no affiliation with ANSI or ISO. Care has been taken to ensure legality of all content. This site does not carry the original specs nor any significant part of them. Format summaries published here are full rewrites of the original specs. Author is the only copyright holder of all content hosted here.

List of all format summaries hosted on this site is below, keyed by ID of the original format spec. If you need to have some other format documented or implemented in FingerprintIO and SourceAFIS, consider sponsoring the author. Some of these formats are also implemented in NIST's BiomDI.

ANSI 378

ISO 19794-2

ISO 19794-2 Smartcard

Base Formats

Fingerprint template format specifications listed above sometimes contain references to other specifications. These references can be usually ignored as tangential, but some of them are essential in the sense that the fingerprint template format cannot be implemented without information from the referenced specification. Such essential references are called base format specifications here. Base formats required by the above fingerprint template formats are listed below.