Open Forensic Metrology Consortium

The OpenFMC (Open Forensic Metrology Consortium) is a group of academic, industry, and government Firearm Forensics researchers whose aim is to establish file formats, means of data exchange, and best practices for researchers using metrology in the forensic sciences (official mission statement to come). The group's first action was the adoption of the X3P file format for the exchange of metrology data. To join our group or mailing list simply drop us a line and state that you want to join the OpenFMC group.

X3P File Format

Background. The X3P (XML 3D Surface Profile) format is being adopted by a group of academic, industry, and government labs for use in firearm forensics. X3P is an efficient means of storing surface topographies that have been measured in standard units. As a open format, X3P will facilitate the sharing of data and algorithm development. X3P files are approximately 10x smaller than a text file version of the same data. The format allows for the storing of meta-data (i.e., additional data fields for each scan). We strongly encourage all researchers and equipment manufacturers to support X3P.
History. The X3P format was initially developed and supported by the openGPS community to efficiently support surface metrology. The format conforms to ISO 25178 and ISO 25178-72 regarding geometry and XML-based file exchange format. The format has been adopted as ISO XXXX (coming soon).

Software and Data Resources

These resources are intended for researchers and practitioners. Developers see the next section.

Cadre Viewer

Cadre has released a free X3P viewer for Windows 7 and 10. The software provides a full 3D interface (full rotation, translation, zoom, light positioning), interpolation, and low-pass filtering. All on-screen images can be saved as high-resolution images in standard (png) format for sharing or use in presentations. Request the viewer by clicking below and indicating `X3P Viewer Software' in the `Product of Interest' field.

Request Viewer

NIST Ballistics Toolmark Research Database

The NIST Ballistics Toolmark Database is an open-access research database of bullet and cartridge case toolmark data.


Programming Resources

These resources are intended for software developers and will be of limited use to non-programmers.

Core C++/Matlab Libraries

Libraries for reading and writing X3P files in C++ were updated by Cadre Research. A MATLAB wrapper is also provided.


R Libraries

Reading, Writing, and Visualization in R. Contributed by Nick Petraco (John Jay College).


Relevant Resources

Finding holes:

Teh, C.H. and Chin, R.T., On the Detection of Dominant Points on Digital Curve. PAMI 11 8, pp 859-872 (1989)

Hole filling:

M. Bertalmío, G. Sapiro, V. Caselles and C. Ballester., "Image Inpainting", Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2000, New Orleans, USA, July 2000.
Alexandru Telea, An Image Inpainting Technique Based on the Fast Marching Method. Journal of Graphics, GPU, and Game Tools, 9(1):23-34 (2004).
L. Lorenzi, F. Melgani, G. Mercier, “Inpainting Strategies for Reconstruction of Missing Data in VHR Images”, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 8(5): 914-918 (2011).


Heung-Yeung Shum and Richard Szeliski. Construction of panoramic mosaics with global and local alignment. International Journal of Computer Vision, 36(2):101-130 (2000). Erratum 48(2):151-152 (2002).
Richard Szeliski. Image alignment and stitching: A tutorial. Technical Report MSR-TR-2004-92, Microsoft Research, December 2004.
M. Brown and D. Lowe. “Automatic Panoramic Image Stitching using Invariant Features”, International Journal of Computer Vision, 74(1):59-73 (2007).
H. Dersch. “Panorama Tools, Open Source Software for Immersive Imaging”, International VR Photography Conference. Berkley 2007.

OpenFMC X3P Logo:

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