Fingerprint Image Compression and the Wavelet Scalar Quantization Specification

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Abstract

Due to the large number and size of fingerprint images, data compression has to be applied to reduce the storage and communication bandwidth requirements of those images. In response to this need, the FBI developed a fingerprint compression specification, called the wavelet scalar quantization (WSQ). As the name suggests, the specification is based on wavelet compression. In this chapter, we review the WSQ specification and discuss its most important theoretical and practical underpinnings. In particular, we present the way wavelet compression generally works and address the choice of the wavelet, the structure of the subbands, the different quantizations of the various subbands, and the entropy coding of the quantized data. The performance of the WSQ is addressed as well.