Ralph Niels' thesis



In this thesis, techniques and features are described that were developed for the automatic comparison of handwritten characters by first matching them to prototypical character shapes (allographs). These techniques and features were evaluated in experiments simulating different real-world applications. The majority of the experiments regard forensic writer identification, where the objective is to find the writer of a piece of handwriting by comparing it to a large set of handwritten documents of which the writer is already known. The assumption is that if two documents contain many similar allographs, they may have been produced by the same writer. In the experiment described, it is demonstrated that using the techniques and features, it is indeed possible to match the correct writer with a piece of unknown handwriting. Other experiments were performed to evaluate the usefulness of the techniques and features for the classification of hand-drawn symbols and characters in different scripts (where the objective is not to find out who produced the writing, but what it represents) and the analysis of children's handwriting to diagnose Developmental Coordination Disorder.