Re: OCR/barcode reliability

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Thu Jun 03 2004 - 12:28:25 CDT

On Jun 3, 2004, at 1:06 PM, Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) wrote:
> In general, barcodes are more accurate than OCR. The error rates I see
> quoted are:
> Barcodes: 1 error per 1m barcode reads.
> OCR: 2% error rate (20,000 errors per 1m character reads).

This is surely apple-to-oranges.

I can't imagine a 2% error rate reading OCR-A/B. It is quite
believable for "some unknown font that might be used in a book or
magazine" though.

I think it is safe to say that if we decide to go with OCR of ballots
(either solely, or redundantly with a barcode), we should print the
votes in an OCR font. Maybe even MICR, if that's actually more
reliable than OCR-A.

> Even though OCR is typically much less accurate than barcodes, in our
> case if we're clever we can perform an "OCR" that takes advantage of
> our knowledge of what we're looking for. So we don't need to recognize
> free text, we only have to determine which candidate's name is
> printed, which should make it much more accurate.

Agreed. In fact, I gave some examples about Levenshtein distance and
the like.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:04 2004

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