Measuring

What is Metrology or Gauging means?

As defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), Metrology is “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology”. It establishes a common understanding of units, crucial to human activity.

Metrology is a wide reaching field, but can be summarized through three basic activities: the definition of internationally accepted units of measurement, the realisation of these units of measurement in practice, and the application of chains of traceability (linking measurements to reference standards). These concepts apply in different degrees to metrology’s three main fields: scientific metrology; applied, technical or industrial metrology, and legal metrology. These overlapping activities are used in varying degrees by the three basic sub-fields of Metrology.

All gauges can be divided into four main types, independent of their actual use.

  1. Analogue instrument meter with analogue display (“needles”). The most basic and cheaper type.

  2. Digital instrument meter with analogue display. A screen that shows an “analogue meter”, commonly used in modern aircraft cockpits, and some hospital equipment etc.

  3. Digital instrument meter with digital display. Only numbers are shown at a digital display.

  4. Analogue instrument meter with digital display. Only numbers are displayed, but through a mechanical or electro-mechanical display (today very rare but has existed for clocks, certain Doppler meters and informational screens at all kinds of stations and airports)

The two first basic types are usually easier for the human eyes and brain to interpret, especially if many instrument meters must be read simultaneously. The other two types are only displaying digits, which are more complex for humans to read and interpret. The ultimate example is cockpit instrumentation in aircraft. The flight instruments cannot display figures only, hence even in the most modern “glass-cockpits” where almost all instruments are displayed at screens, few figures are visible. Instead the screens display analogue meters.

The sub-fields are scientific or fundamental metrology, which is concerned with the establishment of units of measurement, Applied, technical or industrial metrology, the application of measurement to manufacturing and other processes in society, and Legal metrology, which covers the regulation and statutory requirements for measuring instruments and the methods of measurement.

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