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Thread: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

  1. #1
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Ever wonder what's in that barcode on the back of your driver's license?

    I just got a new toy that I'm playing around with, and I'd like to incorporate A5 to allow me to use it for something useful. It's a Handheld 2D Barcode Scanner, and I want to use it to scan the barcode on the back of a driver's license, then populate forms with the resulting data. I'm using a special "sample" Maryland driver's license for testing, but it conforms to the AAMVA standards for universal license data coding. (In other words, it should pretty much work the same way on a license from any state using the AAMVA format.)

    So what's in the that funny looking barcode? Well when scanned into a simple wordpad, the result of this particular license looks like this:

    @AAMVA6360030101DL00290197DLDAQD-123-456-789-000DAADOE,JOHN,MICHAEL,JRDAG26 MAIN STDAIVILLAGE PARKDAJMDDAK20912 DARC DAS DAT DAU600DAW167DBA20110124DBB19820124DBC1DBD20051126DBHN

    And here is how the data breaks down, and how they separate the data fields:

    @AAMVA6360030101DL00290197
    DL (Means "Driver's License" as opposed to a non-driver ID card)
    DAQ
    D-123-456-789-000 (Driver's License Number)
    DAA
    DOE (Last Name)
    JOHN (First Name)
    MICHAEL (Middle Name)
    JR (Suffix)
    DAG
    26 MAIN ST (Address)
    DAI
    VILLAGE PARK (City)
    DAJ
    MD (State)
    DAK
    20912 (Zip)
    DAR
    C (License Class)
    DAS
    DAT
    DAU
    600 (Height)
    DAW
    167 (Weight)
    DBA
    20110124 (Expiration Date)
    DBB
    19820124 (DOB)
    DBC
    1 (Sex 1=M, 2=F)
    DBD
    20051126 (Issue Date)
    DBH
    N (Organ Donor Y/N?)

    So now that I know all this, I'm looking for a simple (if possible) way to scan it to a field on a web page, then upon clicking submit, having the data parsed correctly into separate fields for use on that particular web form.

    Has anyone worked with anything like this, or have any ideas on how to set it up? I've played around a little bit with using an "operation" to break apart the fields, but since the delimiters change with every field, it didn't work too well, plus operations are a desktop function, and I'm looking to do this on the web.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic mmaisterrena's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    I have worked with getting formated text file to something alpha could understand then storing it into fields on a table.

    This functions proved very useful for that for that:
    stringscanner.Create()
    scanner.GetLineText()
    word()
    words()
    w_count()

    Check the out in the documentation, you'll see
    Cheers
    Mauricio


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    VAR Pat Bremkamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Rich,

    For this application, it looks like the best approach would be to scan it into a text area, then parse it with extract_string().

    So, for example, if the bar code was read into a variable named BarCodeText, you could have:

    vAddress = extract_string(BarCodeText,"DAG","DAI")

    Then, as Mauricio suggested, for the name, you could use the word() to break that up

    The only issue I see is if the street name is Adai street, or if the person is named Dagwood. To handle that, you could use the occurs() function to check how may times it appears. So if "DAG" appears twice, then you know there could be a problem.

    Pat
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Hi Rich,

    Parsing a barcode, yours included, is relatively trivial. There are a myriad of character parsing functions that are usable in Alpha, and there is nothing special here.

    The real issue, is that a barcode scanner will scan the data into where ever the cursor is. If the cursor is not where you need data, the barcode characters will be entered wherever it is.

    If you could get the cursor to move to a particular field or dialog box 1st, then the data entered can be used to fill in data or invoke a find, or whatever you needed to be done.

    This is exactly what my CSDA Barcoding Functions for Alpha Five does for the desktop side. (which incidently the trial version has a working function feature that has a test mode that allows you to see all characters that the scanner sends, even special keys) within Alpha Five.

    Doing it for the web side requires handling a javascript key event, which Alpha does not have. It could be done, but each of the 5 most common browsers all handle key events differently (some in major ways, some minor). Unfortunately, there is no current web standard for key events (unfortunately). If one chooses a specific browser, then it is much simpler problem.
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design


    CSDA A5 Products
    New - Free CSDA DiagInfo - v1.39, 30 Apr 2013
    CSDA Barcode Functions

    CSDA Code Utility
    CSDA Screen Capture



  5. #5
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Well thanks to the input from everyone, I'm getting closer.

    I'm trying Pat's suggestion of the "exact_string" expression, and it seems to parse all of the fields correctly, but I'm running into a weird problem that I'm hoping someone might have an answer to .....

    One of the parsed fields is called "DBB_DOB," and it results in a character string date of the person's date of birth. Next to it, I created another field called "DOB," and I'm using the below expression to convert the string to a 'normal' type date:

    DATE_VALUE(VAL(LEFT(DBB_DOB,4)),VAL(SUBSTR(DBB_DOB,5,2)),VAL(SUBSTR(DBB_DOB,7,2)))

    Again, it works correctly, and the DBB_DOB string of 19560115 converts correctly to 01/15/1956, but when I try to start a new record, I immediately get an error message that says: "MONTH IS OUT OF RANGE." Then if I try to close out of the table or delete that record, I get another message that says "ENTER MUST BEGIN FIRST." and then I'm stuck, because it won't go past that point. When that happens, the only way to get out of the table is to forcibly close out of the program.

    The expression to convert the date seems to be working correctly, so I don't know why it keeps saying that the month is out of range, but if I get rid of the expression, the errors go away.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    I'm trying Pat's suggestion of the "exact_string" expression, and it seems to parse all of the fields correctly, but I'm running into a weird problem that I'm hoping someone might have an answer to .....
    This problem is corrected thanks to Jay Talbott. He recommended using the function STOD() to convert the character string to an actual date, instead of the long expression I was using.

    No more error messages.

    Thanks Jay.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Richard

    EDIT: I see you got it working already. Strange that stod() is not throwing an error for you.


    When you start a new record the DBB_DOB field is empty. This results in zeros being passed into the Date_Value function.

    I was going to suggest the STOD() function instead but it to throws an error with an empty string and also with a string of 10 spaces.

    Instead of having two fields I would have only the date type. Convert the barcode text data to a date using stod() as part of your parsing process. That way the actual DOB field does not need to be any type of calculation.
    Last edited by Tim Kiebert; 02-28-2010 at 07:38 PM. Reason: too slow
    Tim Kiebert
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  8. #8
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Hi Tim,

    Well I think the problem was related more to the character date field than to the expression. I thought that using STOD() had solved the problem, but as it turns out, it didn't, it just made for a shorter, neater expression.

    This is how I fixed it, although I'm not quite sure what the cause was ...

    My character date field has an expression that parses the date from the long barcode string:

    EXTRACT_STRING(MEMO,"DBB","DB")
    Which results in (for example) 19840117 in a field called "DBB_DOB"

    Whenever I try to convert that field to a date field by either my original expression or the STOD(DBB_DOB) expression, I get the "Month is out of range" error message when I try to exit the table.

    So as a test, I created a second character date field, and used the simple expression (DBB_DOB) to copy the contents of the first character date field into this one, and called it "DBB_DOB2."

    Then I used the STOD(DBB_DOB2) to convert that field's contents to an actual date (01/17/1984), and it works with no errors.

    Now you are suggesting that I go directly from the long barcode string to the actual date field, but I'm not sure how to do that, or how the expression will know where to find the character date, but maybe you can elaborate.

    I do know it's between DBB and DBC in the original barcode text string if that helps.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

  9. #9
    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    In your first post you said this...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Hartnett View Post
    So now that I know all this, I'm looking for a simple (if possible) way to scan it to a field on a web page, then upon clicking submit, having the data parsed correctly into separate fields for use on that particular web form.
    Are you still doing that. Can you elaborate a bit on your process. I am guessing you are scanning into a memo field??? Then what is your parsing process. Is it a script of some sort or are you using calculated fields?

    If I was doing this on the desktop I would have a script that takes the whole set of data and for each field I want to fill find the data and convert it into the data type of that field.
    Tim Kiebert
    Geelong Citrus Packers
    A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.

  10. #10
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Tim I haven't got it working on the web yet, right now I'm just trying to get all the parsing correct. And yes, at the moment I am just scanning the long text string into a memo field, and using the "extract_string(BarCodeText,"XXX","XXX")" expression in each of the parsed fields to pull the correct data, and that seems to be working just fine.

    My original goal was to have a separate web screen (maybe a popup) just for scanning the data into, then when the submit button was pressed, it would parse the data into the correct fields (on the back end), which could then be pulled into any form that had the need for that data.

    It would be nice to be able to skip the first part of this and have the data go directly into the form that requires it, but since everything I'm doing is web based, I don't see an easy way to accomplish that. Ira has a neat barcode program for desktop applications, but he said it would be somewhat complicated to do in a web browser, since it would vary depending on which browser the client was using.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Tim here's what I'm doing:

    I have a memo field that takes the following barcode data, and parses it out using calculated fields -

    AAMVA6360030101DL00290197DLDAQS-542-738-870-099
    DAASMITH,RICHARD,JOHN,JR
    DAG26 SAMANTHA CT
    DAITAKOMA PARK
    DAJMD
    DAK20912
    DARC
    DAS
    DAT
    DAU600
    DAW167
    DBA20110124
    DBB19820124
    DBC1
    DBD20051126
    DBHN

    Each field is delimited by the first three charcters. The "DBB" string is the person's DOB, which in this case is 01/24/1982.

    Presently I'm using the following expression to parse out the date string:
    EXTRACT_STRING(MEMO,"DBB","DB")
    This gives me "19820124" as a character field, which I call "DBB_DOB."

    Then I was using a separate (date) field to convert the character string to the actual date:
    STOD(DBB_DOB) = 01/24/1982

    This works as I said earlier, but as soon as I try to enter a new record, I get an error message because as you said, the character string for the date field hasn't been created yet, and as such it throws the record into a crazy loop which gives an error message of "MONTH IS OUT OF RANGE," then "ENTER MUST BEGIN FIRST," and stays the way until I force the program to close.

    Now you suggested that I parse out the character date string and convert it to a regular date all at one time, but I'm not sure what the expression would look like to do that.

    Could you show me how?

    Everything else about this application is working correctly except for this date issue, so if I can get this working I'll be finished.

    Thanks
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Hartnett View Post
    Now you suggested that I parse out the character date string and convert it to a regular date all at one time, but I'm not sure what the expression would look like to do that.
    Date and Time Functions

    Stod()

    The STOD() function converts a character representation of a date into a date value. STOD() generates an error if the input is invalid.
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

  13. #13
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Stan thanks for replying so fast, but I'm not really sure what you are telling me?

    I'm familiar with the STOD() function, and as listed above, I am using it to convert my parsed character string into an actual date. The problem is that it is causing errors at the end of the record, and Tim was suggesting that I parse the character string from the barcode data AND convert it to an actual date all at one time, but I don't understand how to do that.

    That's what I'm looking for assistance with.

    I assume it would be some sort of a nested expression, but I've been playing around with it for hours and I can't figure out how to make it work.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Coming into the middle of things but to do both maybe try. If what you did before separately works, then this should too...

    DBB_DOB = STOD(EXTRACT_STRING(MEMO,"DBB","DB"))
    Mike
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  15. #15
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Thanks for jumping in Mike.

    I tried that expression you suggested but it does not seem to work. The error is that the expression does not evaluate to a date value.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    oops--I oddly set your character variable DBB_DOB to equal the STOD value---set instead whatever you need to set to be equal to the STOD()

    like: Your_Date_Variable = STOD(EXTRACT_STRING(MEMO,"DBB","DB"))
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    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Richard,
    I will respond a little later with a description of what I was alluding to but in the mean time I tested the following expression which seems to work.

    Use this for the calc in the actual date field.
    Code:
    IF(EXTRACT_STRING(Memo,"DBB","DB")="",{}, STOD(LEFT(EXTRACT_STRING(Memo,"DBB","DB"),8)))
    This accounts for the memo field initially being empty. And the extract_string function was returning the carriage return which the stod function did not like.

    EDIT: Oops, Left my field names in the expresion
    Last edited by Tim Kiebert; 05-29-2010 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Replaced my field names
    Tim Kiebert
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  18. #18
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Hi Tim

    Your expression works correctly, however now another weird thing is happening.

    If I enter the barcode scan data directly into record via browse, the DOB calculation works fine.

    But if I enter it via the web page, as soon as I hit the submit button, I get an error message on the DOB field, that says "CAN'T PUT TO CALCULATED FIELD."

    Any thoughts?

    BTW, here's the link to the form:
    http://pd.serveftp.com/pd/rms/barcodescan.a5w

    If you want to see what I'm getting, manually paste the following data into the memo field and hit the submit button:

    AAMVA6360030101DL00290197DLDAQS-542-738-870-099
    DAASMITH,RICHARD,WELLINGTON,JR
    DAG26 SAUCER CT
    DAITAKOMA PARK
    DAJMD
    DAK20912
    DARC
    DAS
    DAT
    DAU600
    DAW167
    DBA20110124
    DBB19820124
    DBC1
    DBD20051126
    DBHN
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic mmaisterrena's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    I think your DOB field has an expression on the "calculated" property or is being calculated in the query section and at the same time is a required field so you might want to change one of those things
    Cheers
    Mauricio


  20. #20
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Hi Tim

    Your expression works correctly, however now another weird thing is happening.

    If I enter the barcode scan data directly into record via browse, the DOB calculation works fine.

    But if I enter it via the web page, as soon as I hit the submit button, I get an error message on the DOB field, that says "CAN'T PUT TO CALCULATED FIELD."
    Hey Tim just wanted to let you know that your expression is working perfectly. I don't know what was causing the above error message, but I fixed it by rebuilding the grid.

    I have another question regarding parsing that I was hoping someone could shed some light on.

    Sample barcode extract into memo field:
    AAMVA6360030101DL00290197DLDAQS-542-738-870-099
    DAASMITH,RICHARD,WELLINGTON,JR
    DAG26 SAUCER CT
    DAITAKOMA PARK
    DAJMD
    DAK20912
    DARC
    DAS
    DAT
    DAU600
    DAW167
    DBA20110124
    DBB19820124
    DBC1
    DBD20051126
    DBHN

    Presently I'm using the expression of (for example):
    EXTRACT_STRING(MEMO,"DAG","DAI")
    to parse the address from the memo field and similar expressions to parse the other data. This works fine as long as the next field starts with the delimiter of "DAI," which it always does in Maryland. But I just found out that other states layout their data differently. They still use the same delimiters, as that is based on a national standard, but the data doesn't always flow the same way.

    For example, in one state, the address field is followed by the Organ Donor field. The delimiter for the Organ Donor field is DBH. Obviously this causes a problem with the "Exact String" expression because it is looking for DAI as the end point, now it does not follow DAG.

    So my question is this: There is a set maximum number of characters that can be used in each field, so that will never change and that being the case, is there a similar expression I could use that would still parse the data from the set delimiters of "DAG," "DAS," etc., but instead of using the next text delimiter to indicate the end of the parse, it would only parse the string up to the maximum number of allowable charcters, then stop.

    In other words, something like:
    EXTRACT_STRING(MEMO,"DAG",30) or something like that, so that once a space of 30 characters was reached, the expression would know it was the end of the string.

    (I know this is not a real expression, but in looking at it you can get the drift of what I'm trying to do.)
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Richard,

    Is the list always as you have supplied in post 20, ie with carriage returns or does it come in as in your first post which looks like one line?
    Tim Kiebert
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    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    It looks like Post #20. The first one was "doctored up" by me to show everybody what data is embedded in the barcode. However my barcode scanner is stripping out the carriage return symbol and entering straight text.

    This was done on purpose. When I first started this project, every time I would input data on to the memo field of the web page, the browser screen would go crazy and try to open up all kinds of browser related options. In the end, the only thing that was left in the memo field was the "@" symbol.

    To to counter that, the tech from the barcode reader company set the gun so that it stripped out everything but straight text, and the problem disappeared.

    And I think I know where you're going with this .......
    Are you going to suggest using the carriage return as the ending delimiter?

    I thought about that. I'm not sure how the expression reads, but I guess I'll have to put the carriage returns back in the bar code reader's output first if I'm going to experiment with that. We didn't determine that the problem was the carriage returns, as there are other symbols inserted during the initial data input that could have been causing the problem, but the tech suggested just getting rid of all the non-text characters and trying it. That's what we did and it solved the problem so I just left it that way.

    So maybe if I put the carriage returns back in and nothing else, I'll be able to have it "both ways."
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Tim Kiebert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Yes you were right on where I was heading. I did a test and crlf() can be used as the second delimiter.

    Instead of putting the carriage returns back is it possible to replace them with something else that would not be in the data. Like a ~ or | or some combination like xzzx.
    Tim Kiebert
    Geelong Citrus Packers
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    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Not sure Tim, but I'm waiting for a return call from the tech at OptiCon, and I'll check with him to see if that can be done.

    Meanwhile, here's what the barcode scanner output looked like before we removed all the invisible characters:

    @<LF><CR>
    AAMVA6360030101DL00290197DLDAQS-542-738-870-065<LF>DAASAMUELS,RICHARD,WELLINGTON,JR<LF>DAG26 SEEK CT<LF>DAITAKOMA PARK<LF>DAJMD<LF>DAK20912 <LF>DARC <LF>DAS <LF>DAT <LF>DAU600<LF>DAW167<LF>DBA20110124<LF>DBB19820124<LF>DBC1<LF>DBD20051126<LF>DBHN<CR>
    <CR>
    <ETX>

    I'm not sure what was causing all the browser problems, but I guess I could play with some different things.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

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    Darrell Russo
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Was interested in creating a similar sort of data-base-like "application", can you recommend a source for deciphering certain terms, ie., the following: a.) EMEMEWPFD b.) DBIN c.) DBE

    I ask because you seem to be working with the kinds of data that my App would be marketing to those businesses dealing in the level of security above say, "bar bouncers and package good store clerks". Thank you.

  26. #26
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Richard Hartnett
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Very interesting Mike.

    Unfortunately in my situation things have changed a bit. We are now using an electronic traffic citation program provided by the state, and it has a 2D barcode reader attached to it already. This is both good and bad for my purposes. On one hand the state has taken care of my problem of getting the driver's license data parsed and inserted into the correct fields on THEIR form, but it doesn't allow me to use that data for anything else, like my web based records application.

    In this case, the scanner (L-Tron/Honeywell model) is plugged into usb and grabs a port in the computer. The state's software then talks to that port and tells the scanner when to turn on and when to turn off. It also takes the data and forces it directly into their program, then closes the scanner application. According to L-Tron, it would be very complicated to try to re-route that port's data to another application, then switch it back again on the fly, but I am still playing with it so we'll see what happens.

    It seems like such a waste to have a $500 barcode scanner sitting in the police car and only be able to use it on one application, and not on the multitude of other forms that we need DL data from.
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

  27. #27
    "Certified" Alphaholic Rich Hartnett's Avatar
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    Richard Hartnett
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Darrell I'm sorry that I did not notice your post several months ago, and a I swear I wasn't ignoring you!

    I got my manual for deciphering the delimiter codes on the driver's licenses by simply performing a google search on "AAMVA Barcodes." The Amercian Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators sets the standards for Driver's License, Registration and other ID barcodes, and their free manual is downloadable from their website at this address:

    AAMVA DL/ID Barcode Manual

    Or just go here for more info: http://www.aamva.org/KnowledgeCenter/DLIDStandards/

    Rich
    Sergeant Richard Hartnett
    Hyattsville City Police Department
    Maryland

  28. #28
    Member Huzzard Systems's Avatar
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    Gary A. Jahnke
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    Default Re: Scan of Driver's License 2D Barcode

    Sergeant Richard,

    Don't know if you are still working on this project but I wanted you to know that Huzzard Systems recently launched an auto data entry solution called Read & Feed that can read AAMVA compliant barcodes, parse the data, and drop into the appropriate fields in a variety of people and vehicle search programs. Please check-out the landing page we created for Read & Feed: www.Huzzard.com/WCPA2012.html

    As you will see on the landing page, the beauty of Read & Feed is the ability to interface with virtually any program. We have experience writing the interface to many different programs including: New World, SunGard, Spillman, TraCS, eTime, Pro Phoenix and many others.

    Please let me know if we can help you with your project! We will be glad to help.

    Best
    Gary Jahnke
    Last edited by Huzzard Systems; 02-11-2012 at 07:16 PM.

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