An operator interactive pattern processing system is described which combines high speed recognition and processing abilities of an automatic portion with the estimating and recognition abilities of a human operator to extract correct data from patterns, such as poor quality unidentified latent fingerprint patterns and achieve rapid identification thereof. The automatic portion reads the unidentified pattern and extracts specific information therefrom such as ridge contour data describing the epidermal ridge flow and minutial data principally describing ridge endings and bifurcations. Topological data, identifying singularity points such as tri-radii and cores as well as ridge flow line tracings related to those points are automatically extracted from the ridge contour data. The extracted information is then utilized by the automatic portion to perform classification of the unknown fingerprint previously identified fingerprint patterns having the same classification type as they are selectively retrieved from a main file. The automatic portion contains circuitry for making value judgments as to its own functions at intermediate stages of its operation. The value judgment circuitry allows the automatic portion to communicate with an operator through an interactive controller whenever: it doubts the accuracy of its automatically identified singularity points; is unable to classify the unknown fingerprint pattern; obtains no matches to the unknown fingerprint; or obtains too many matches to the unknown fingerprint. At the request of the automatic portion, the operator then analyzes the specific data for which the automatic system determines it is having difficulty and either verifies or corrects the data stored in the automatic portion through the use of the interactive controller. The automatic portion then continues in its processing of the extracted data until identification of the unknown fingerprint is achieved.