World Metrology Day May 20th 2007
Building Measurement to support the Nation
Measurements are strategically important to the process of nation building. Only those nations that have developed comprehensive systems of measurement have progressed to the point of being called “developed”. If our nation is to attain such status, a national system of measurement that matches our aspirations must be established.
Metrology is the science and practice of measurement. It represents the basis for trust in the results obtained. The National Metrology System of a country represents the infrastructure that enables the performance and application of measurement for purposes that mirror the economic and social core of that nation.
World Metrology Day is a reflection of progress. The signing of the Metre Convention on the 20th May 1875 created an enduring foundation for world trade and international business, the foundation for today’s “Global Village”. It created a basis for interaction and cooperation between countries that has endured two world wars.
The countries that signed that original agreement developed a system of international measurement standards which were held in France. They each received a set of National Measurement Standards for their own use. The Institute of International Metrology the BIPM and the National Measurement Institutes of the Member countries combined to create the international measurement network.
The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) as a newcomer to this world of National and International Metrology adds its voice to the many others around the world that are celebrating the continued development of Metrology. We commemorate its march forward, matching the new technological revolution, and its growth, caused by the advent of new countries into the fold.
The TTBS is also celebrating the birth of the Metrology Division which commenced its operations in October 2006. Like our more experienced peers before us we are attempting to establish a National Metrology Institute (NMI) which will guide our development in the area of measurements.
Metrology is founded on three main pillars;
Legal Metrology is the oldest and most visible form of metrology activity. It governs those measurements that utilise the force of Law. Buying and selling by weight or quantity in the market or in packages are examples of this.
Industrial Metrology is the basis of quantity and quality for production and services. Industrial competitiveness is very dependent on measurement quality. In Trinidad and Tobago our major products Natural Gas and Petroleum are sold by weight or by volume.
Scientific Metrology is applied in the preservation of measurement standards, the improvement of measurements and the introduction of new forms.
The new Metrology Division has been structured to mirror this triad of purposes. It consists of three sections.
The Legal Metrology Inspectorate is our Legal Metrology arm.
The National Calibration Service provides calibration services to industry.
The National Standards Laboratory is the home of our National Measurement Standards as decreed by the Act.
The Division is also engaged in the development of regulations and standards that govern measurement. We will seek to influence the approach to measurement in other areas such as Environmental Monitoring or in Road Safety.
The lesson of the importance of Metrology in Nation Building is very clear. The efforts made by developed countries to house and maintain their measurement interests have been spectacular. What has also been instructive is the effort of countries that have been able to accelerate their movement away from underdevelopment. In each case, Brazil, India, Singapore, Malaysia and China to name a few, all have made Metrology and the dissemination of traceability and measurement capability to their major industries and society a priority. In our nation’s quest for recognizable levels of development for our country and peoples the TTBS Metrology Division will spearhead the application of Metrology in the process of the building of our Nation.