22 Feb 2024in Products

How Regula Creates the Most Full and Detailed Document Reference System

Information Reference Systems (IRS for short) are unique digital collections of passports, ID cards, visas, banknotes, coins, driver’s licenses, and vehicle documents from all over the world. 

In this article we will reveal the process of their creation, plus tell you what makes them unique and why IRS are a must in any kind of document analysis.

Essentials of IRS: Quantity & Quality

They say quality is more important than quantity. At Regula, we would agree about that if we didn’t prioritize both quality and quantity when it comes to Information Reference Systems.

Quality without quantity is like a shot in the dark. When you check documents without a rich collection of document samples, you may come across an exotic document or a passport that may look like a souvenir passport (for instance a UN passport), and feel confused and distracted. But there’s no need to worry, because our IRS databases are updated weekly, and at the time of publication, they store 11,885 documents from 220 countries and territories around the world.

A diplomatic travel document issued by the United Nations: An example in the Regula IRS.

A diplomatic travel document issued by the United Nations. The UNLP is a valid travel document, which can be used like a national passport. However, UNLP holders sometimes face situations when immigration officials who are unfamiliar with the document require them to show a national passport in addition.

And vice versa, quantity without quality makes no sense, such as when zoomed-in images become pixelated and indistinguishable. That is why we upload images of document samples that have 1000 DPI for the general view and 2400 DPI for detailed fragments. For comparison, the industry standard for good quality images is 300 DPI, and these images are sufficient for most purposes—for professional or exhibition-quality artwork, 600 DPI is used.  So, this exceptional resolution of 1000 and 2400 DPI empowers our customers to compare security features and printing techniques from our IRS with an object under study, plus delve into micro- and nano text, even in holograms.

Read also: Regula Identity Document Template Database vs. Information Reference System: What’s the Difference?

How we stay up-to-date and with whom we cooperate to make our IRS even better

We annually meet with experts in document production, developers, and producers of security features at exhibitions like High Security Printing and Intergraf: Currency + Identity, which helps us stay updated on all the latest technologies, document production know-how, and development of security features. This, in turn, provides us with a more comprehensive approach to IRS databases, where we store images of documents, their information, labeled security features, printing techniques, and comments from our document experts.

We cooperate and provide joint training courses with international and regional organizations, including INTERPOL, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and many others.

During joint training, we receive valuable feedback directly from trainees (the professionals who work at border control, as well as in airports and forensic laboratories). They often share their experience about detecting document forgeries. For many years, we’ve been exchanging forensic knowledge and information about travel documents with experts from these organizations. This cooperation gives us the ability to stay on the cutting edge and implement the shared expertise into our solutions, including the IRS.

How is a document analyzed

Before answering this question, it is worth explaining why we carry out examinations at all. And there are two reasons for this: the issuing authority may not provide a description (which is rare, but still occurs) and secondly the description is often insufficient. This may be a brochure or a video that does not disclose all the security features in the document. So Regula’s experts perform a full in-depth examination anyway.

Having a variety of Regula devices at hand, an expert examines the document and creates a so-called map of security features and printing techniques, which contains information about their location and peculiarities.

To illustrate the process, let’s take the newly issued passport of the Republic of Seychelles, which was recently added to the database, as an example. Seychelles introduced the new biometric passport for its citizens in November 2022.

After a detailed study of the inside front cover under magnification, one of our experts can determine that the text is printed in offset technique, the serial number in letterpress, and all the images in intaglio; also, it has a latent image KIPP, which is also produced using intaglio printing and reveals the hidden ISO country code “SYC” at an acute angle of observation.

General view of the inside front cover of the Seychelles passport.

General view of the inside front cover of the Seychelles passport.

Exactly the same process affects all pages of the passport, in particular the data page, which of course calls for special attention as it has the largest number of security features.

A map of security features and printing techniques on the data page.

An expert needs to examine every millimeter of the document in order to discover all the “hidden” security features that it contains.

This so-called map is literally a guide for image capture, which will be done later. The map helps to clearly understand which parts of the document require more attention, and which equipment and tools to use in order to represent this or that security feature or printing technique in the most vivid and accurate manner.

Visualization of the kinegram, blind embossing, and an engraved secondary holder’s portrait.

Visualization of the kinegram, blind embossing, and an engraved secondary holder’s portrait.

Photoshooting in a lab

When all the maps are made, the document sample goes to our photo lab where it is shot using Regula devices, different types of advanced cameras, a Kaiser copy stand, plus various studio lights and filters.

To take general views of the document in white, ultraviolet, and infrared lights, and to capture infrared luminescence, anti-Stokes, and photochromic ink, we use the Regula 88100, a high-resolution photospectral scanner. Its top-notch 400 MP camera takes images with a resolution of up to 4380 ppi, which allows the user to zoom in on the images and determine the printing techniques and security features right away.

Data page in white, UV, and IR light sources.

Taking pictures with the Regula 88100 and using the additional IRS module, you can easily create your own database or supplement an existing one with the document samples you’re interested in.

In the IRS database, security features that produce motion effects or change colors, such as holograms (kinegrams), are represented in motion formats as well: i.e., videos and GIFs. We produce these files using the Regula 2303, an OVD analyzer which takes images according to a programmed algorithm of frame-by-frame shooting. That way, the user can either play the video or switch between images with a smooth shift of angle.

gifs of the kinegram demonstrate all the possible variants of color and image change.

GIFs of the kinegram demonstrate all the possible variants of color and image change.

Providing document info and uploading to the IRS

At the finish line, our document expert uploads all the obtained images of the passport via the Document Builder IRS module, also developed by Regula. There, the expert adds information about the document, including information about the overall construction of the passport, the RFID chip, the number of pages, a description of the cover and data page, the date of circulation, and so on.

data page together with the opened tab of document info.

In the info tab, our experts may leave comments about the peculiarities of security features or passport construction.

Red frames on the generalized image of the document in white light represent the map of security features that our expert made while studying the document. These frames are clickable, and open up enlarged fragments of security features. By switching between all these frames, the user can examine the sample and use these images as a helping hand while examining a real document.

general view and detailed fragments of 1000 and 2400 DPI respectively.

General view and detailed fragments of 1000 and 2400 DPI, respectively.

More than a collection of passport samples

Information and Reference Systems serve not only document experts and border control officers, but are also appreciated by employees of banks and exchange offices, for example, at international airports, since the IRS provides them with up-to-date and reliable information about banknotes and coins.

Besides, we regularly add not only current “ordinary” banknotes and coins but rare and commemorative ones. Here are some examples.

Bahamian Cent 1966-1970.

Bahamian Cent 1966-1970.

New Guinea Toea 1975-2001.

New Guinea Toea 1975-2001.

Aruban Florin 1986-2022.

Aruban Florin 1986-2022.

Cook Island Dollar 2015.

Cook Island Dollar 2015.

Canadian Dollar 1935.

Canadian Dollar 1935.

Thai Baht 2020, Commemorative.

Thai Baht 2020, Commemorative.

Fiji Dollar 2023, Commemorative.

Fiji Dollar 2023, Commemorative.

So, don’t hesitate: find out how Information Reference Systems can streamline document examination procedures in your particular use case.

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