Travel document technology request

If you have an IT product related to machine reading of travel documents, you may want to submit a request for information to David Philp.

If you have an IT product related to machine reading of travel documents, you may want to submit a request for information to David Philp.

Philp is the New Zealand-based co-ordinator of the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) new technologies working group (NWTG) committee.

ICAO is working towards the development of specifications for travel documents with the ultimate aim of global interoperability between systems for biometric identification (eg by fingerprint or eye), travel document printers and readers, self-service technologies which allow official-less border crossings and verification methods that allow automated checking of documents.

ICAO is also looking at cards with the capability to store information for at least 10 years and the application of radio frequency technologies to online travel document systems to allow secure passport and visa applications to be made and granted on the internet.

The ICAO puts out the RFI every three years, Philp says. The ICAO, of which New Zealand is one of 187 members, sends out an RFI in order to gather information from vendors on the latest technology in the area or whatever member nations are interested in, he says.

As a member of the ICAO’s new technologies group, Philp, a Wellington-based Internal Affairs department staff member, was chosen to co-ordinate the 2001-2 RFI. The RFI goes on government websites and to vendor associations around the world and gives vendors instructions on what ICAO is looking for, he says. The RFI closes on October 30.

The next step is to convene a selection panel to pick the vendors that will be invited to travel to Montreal in February 2002 to make presentations to the NWTG committee. A survey of all the information will then be published.

“It’s a two-fold process – it’s both a market survey and a means of making international standards for travel documents,” Philp says. He notes that responding to the RFI won’t guarantee sales.

For more information, see New Zealand Passport Office.

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