Definition of Measurement Standards
The internationally accepted definition of measurement standards is the realization of the definition of a given quantity, with stated quantity value and associated measurement uncertainty, used as a reference.
Weights and measures, a term closely connected to measurement standards, refers to unit systems used to measure quantities such as length, volume, and weight. Weights and measures have formed the foundation of key activities in human society such as taxation, construction, manufacture, and commercial transactions, and their role is becoming increasingly important with the expansion of trade as well as the development of technology and industries.
Importance of Measurement Standards
“Conquests will come and go, but this work will endure.”
These were Napoleon’s words on the enforcement of the metric system, which is an accomplishment, he believed, would much more precious than the conquest of Europe. Just as the French Revolution was a turning point in the history of human thought, the international standardization of weights and measures was another revolution in human history.
Standards of quantities such as length, mass, time, and temperature have always formed the basis of civilization. Going beyond economic purposes such as ensuring fairness in commercial transactions and consumer protection, all of modern industry and science, from the diagnosis of disease, to environmental conservation and use of resources, rely on measurements.
Measurement standards are reference points that ensure the accuracy of measurement. They are the most basic infrastructure of the national economy, ensuring the credibility of science and industry. National capacities in measurement standards are a measure of credibility in international trade, and a letter of credit for domestic enterprises entering the global market.
The world economy of the 21st century is bound together in a giant value chain. Every process in product manufacture, distribution, sales and service is distributed within the global division of labor. To ensure export competitiveness in the dichotomy of free trade and protectionism characterizing global trade, measurement standards that guarantee product reliability must be managed as a national initiative.
Measurement standards also maintain order in our society and protect public safety. The accurate measurement of harmful substances such as heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, antibiotics, and food additives is directly connected to the health and safety of our people.
The hyper-intelligent and hyper-connected society of today is driven by big data measured in real time. Accurate data measurements using universalized sensors in smartphones, cars, various devices, and industries will continue to grow in importance.
Measurement Standards Research
Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science establishes, maintains, and disseminates standards at the highest level of precision and accuracy in Korea. It also develops measurement technology that is transferred to research institutes and industrial entities. Its research covers the seven SI base units (time, length, mass, electric current, thermodynamic temperature, amount of substance, luminous intensity) and relevant standards as well as the development of new standards.
Currently, KRISS is one of the world’s leading NMIs(national metrology institutes) in many fields of national standards.
* (Key example: time standard) The national standard for time in the Republic of Korea is maintained using a caesium atomic clock, which only errs by 1 second in 100 million years, together with several commercial atomic clocks. Korea standard time is accurate to 20 millionth of a second (50 ns) to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), the global time standard.