for either the current NIBIN program or a wide-scale national reference database. That enhancement is the replacement of two-dimensional photography with three-dimensional topography, and we briefly describe that technology along with historical alternatives to photography in firearms analysis. Chapter 8 reviews the experimental efforts conducted by NIST in support of the committee’s work, as well as limited experimental work using the New York State CoBIS database. Chapter 9 builds from the new experimental evidence and from studies (described in Chapter 4 and elsewhere) in articulating the arguments associated with creating a national reference database.

Part IV, on future directions, begins in Chapter 10 by discussing alternative technologies to achieve the same goal as a national reference ballistic image database. In particular, we review proposals to microstamp firearms parts or individual pieces of ammunition with unique etched identification codes. Chapter 11 closes the report with general guidance on the process of developing systems for image search, retrieval, processing, and scoring, suggesting “best practices” for development of any such program (whether advancing current two-dimensional photography techniques or changing to three-dimensional topography).

Appendix A offers additional detail on the use of ballistic imaging technology in Boston, one locale where the current NIBIN system appears to be well used and well supported.



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