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PDF417 Law Enforcment

PDF417 Law Enforcment

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Technical Report ECE.P54.2004.5February 26, 2004
Driver’s License Scanner Pocket PC Application
Kriste Krstovski
Introduction
The Driver License Scanner is a Windows CE application that enables the lawenforcement officer to scan driver licenses and verify the authenticity of the driver’s licenseelectronic data encoded in the two-dimensional (2D) bar code with the driver’s data written onthe driver’s license. This interface application controls the operation of a two-dimensional barcode reader. The application also processes the encoded data, extracts the driver’s informationfields, and displays it to the law enforcement officer.The interface application was developed using Embedded Visual C++. In order to createan algorithm that will perform a reliable method of extracting driver’s information fields fromthe encoded data, the application development involved analyzing the PDF417 symobology andthe American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) standard for encodingdriver license information.The functionality of the Driver’s License Scanner Application was tested on NewHampshire driver licenses. The tests proved the functionality of the application.
Overview of PDF417 Code Standard
PDF417 is a standard for 2D symbology
 
developed by Symbol Technologies. AAMVAadopted the PDF417 standard as a 2D standard for encoding driver information. PDF stands forPortable Data File and it is a method of storing data of up to 1.1 kilobytes onto a physical
 
 1medium [1]. A PDF417 bar code can have from 3 to 90 rows and from 3 to 30 columns. Eachbar’s width is an integer multiple of the narrowest bar referred to as a bar code’s “X” dimensionor “module”. The actual data that is encoded on the bar code resides between the start and thestop pattern. These two patterns are one dimensional and they define the frame of the bar code onthe physical medium. When the scan engine scans the physical medium it first sends single scanline to locate the start and stop patterns. Once they are located the scan engine sends multiplenumbers of scan lines to scan each individual row of the bar code.The PDF417 symbology encodes the data using codewords. Each codeword is 17modules wide and it consists of 4 bars and 4 spaces. One can notice that the numerical portion of “PDF417” refers to the codeword structure (4 for the number of bars and spaces and 17 for thewidth of the codeword).
 
Besides the start and the stop pattern regions the PDF417 contains tworow indicator regions appended to the inner side of the start and stop pattern. The codewords thatreside in these regions specify the total number of rows, actual row number, number of columnsand the error correction level used. Shown in Figure 1 is the structure of the PDF417 bar code.
PDF417 STRUCTURE
PDF417 encoding of “UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE”
ModuleStart PatternStop PatternCodewordRow IndicatorsColumn
 
Figure 1- PDF417 structure
 
 2
 
The PDF417 standard deploys error correction capability. There are 9 levels of error correction that can be used. The level of error correction used defines the number of errorcorrection codewords and the number of codewords that can have errors and still be readable.The error correction level also defines the total number of characters that can be encoded by asingle PDF417 bar code. A PDF417 can store up to 1800 characters. Increasing the errorcorrection level reduces the storage capacity of the PDF417 bar code. It is important to realizethat the error correction facility of the PDF417 format does not ensure correct reading in the caseof ink spread or bad printing quality of the bar code onto the physical medium. Table 1 showsthe number of error correction codewords for each of the nine error correction levels as well asthe relation between the error correction level and the maximum number of allowed codewordswith errors and the maximum storage capacity.
ErrorCorrection LevelErrorCorrectionCodewordsErrorCorrectionCapacityMaximum TextCapacity
0 2 0 18501 4 1 18462 8 3 18383 16 7 18224 32 15 17905 64 31 17266 128 63 15987 256 127 13428 512 255 830
Table 1 – Error correction and text capacity of the PDF417 symbology

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