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ULW Software

The Universal Latent Workstation (ULW) is the new generation of interoperable and interactive software for latent print examiners. This new tool represents the next step on the road to total standards-based workstations providing users the ability to search local, state, and the FBI IAFIS system with a single encoding. The ultimate goal is to encode once, search anywhere – from around the neighborhood, and around the state, to around the nation. The ULW is latent fingerprint processing software, developed by the FBI to:

  • Take a latent fingerprint image from a scanner, digital camera or disk file
  • Assist in enhancing the image
  • Provide machine-assisted definition of the fingerprint characteristics
  • Create a latent fingerprint feature search (LFFS) file that can be used to search an AFIS at the local, state or federal level
  • Allow comparison of the search latent with the search result

ULW provides:

  • Full IAFIS latent search capabilities from a native feature set to run all searches from a single encoding
  • Translate vendors’ ANSI/NIST formatted search record into an IAFIS search
  • Direct latent tracings search
  • Mark the easy, not false, minutiae , which effectively complements rather than competes with the examiner’s selection
  • Case history logs for all actions to an image
  • Works with Windows desktop tools, such as clipboard file formats, and imaging tools
  • Examiner collaboration because it is not hard wired to any AFIS. It can be used to view, mark, and share fingerprint images with anyone
  • Read and display any ANSI/NIST transaction, including ten-print search records with mug shots

The software not only displays the fingerprint image, provides image processing tools to improve the quality of the rendered print, but it also incorporates feature extraction tools that can be used in labeling features prior to search.

Several state and local agencies, the FBI, NIST, and AFIS vendors are working together on standards to improve interoperability and sharing of latent identification services. ULW is part of that program. The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) is improving not only interoperability but also the enter once, search anywhere functionality. As the availability of ULW grows, we will build a national Latent Identification Services Exchange Network so users can reach other agencies as required.

System Requirements

The following are minimum PC requirements for ULW:

  • Microsoft Windows (any version Windows XP and later)
  • Internet access to download ULW from www.fbibiospecs.org (CD available upon request)
  • Internet Explorer 4.0 (or higher)
  • 32 MB of memory (or more)
  • 20 MB of available hard disc space to install ULW
  • CD-ROM drive or access to a CD-ROM over a computer network
  • Video card/monitor displaying 65536 colors with resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • TWAIN-compliant scanner capable of scanning at 500 pixels per inch (or better)

Recommended system requirements:

  • 512 MB of memory/RAM
  • Video card/monitor capable of displaying “true color” or “65K colors” with a resolution of at least 1280 X 1024

Additional ULW Information

ULW auto installs from a CD and support is available at ulw@leo.gov .

  • You will need Administrator privileges for the installation. The Setup program copies files to the Windows systems directory. Examiners may find it useful to work with their IT department in setting up ULW.
  • ULW on-line documentation lists the encoding steps and shows examples of IAFIS feature placement.
  • Recommend first time users ask for the ULW team to walk through first encoding via teleconference.
  • First time users should contact ulw@leo.gov for an appointment
  • The ULW software is free – but you must provide your own computer as described in the System Requirements section above.
  • Users must have email connectivity to IAFIS to run searches and receive candidates.
  • Connection to CJIS WAN is the user agency’s responsibility, but the CJIS can provide details on the various options as well as planning support.
  • To search the 60,000,000 record CMF, latent searches must currently limit the portion of the database that will be searched. No individual search will search more than 30% of the CMF. This restriction is expected to be eliminated with the introduction of the Next Generation Identification (NGI). NGI will offer new opportunities for latent print searches including latent palm searches and searching special databases.