Metrology

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Metrology is a combination of two Greek words, ‘metron’ and ‘logos’, any literally translates as the science of measurement. Metrology establishes a common way of expressing measurements through the International System of Units (the SI), and acts as a globally-recognised language, spoken by all fields of science and technology.

Metrology has wide-ranging impacts on society: everything, from economics and the environment to food supply and healthcare, relies on accurate, reliable measurements. The SI is necessary for international trade; it enables our electricity market to function effectively, ensures the automotive, aviation and space industries operate safely, and facilitates further technology development.

Metrology can be divided into subfields, but scientific metrology involves three basic activities:

  • Definition: establishment of units of measurement, which may be internationally accepted.
  • Realisation: practical application of these units of measurement.
  • Traceability: linking measurements made in practice to reference standards.

The Measurement Standards Laboratory (MSL) is the New Zealand home for scientific metrology.

MSL makes the primary physical standards of measurement available for the benefit of New Zealand, and has an active research programme to keep pace with our customers’ needs and new, emerging technologies.

Our metrology research activities include:

  • Difficult industrial measurements.
  • New measurement techniques and instruments.
  • New calibration methods.
  • New or improved measurement standards.
  • Fundamental measurements supporting improvements to the SI.

Learn more about our research, and discover what a metrology career with us can offer.

Revision of the SI in 2018

The SI will undergo a major revision in 2018 that will be agreed and implemented by the international metrology community. Read more here.

Learn more about the SI units: