WINDHOEK, MAY 11 – On 20th of May 2018, Namibia will join the international community in commemorating World Metrology Day: an annual event during which more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives. This date was chosen in recognition of the signing of the Metre Convention on 20 May 1875, the beginning of formal international collaboration in metrology.
Metrology, the science of measurement is at the core of the National Quality Infrastructure, being at the centre of the national measurement system. Every process or service, for which a decision has to be made based on a measurement, must be supported by a sound metrology infrastructure. Certain decisions are critical and require accurate measurements, others are regulated and there are laws to protect the consumers and the environment, others have a bearing on safety and health.
The theme for 2018 is the Constant evolution of International System of Units. This theme was chosen because in November 2018, the General Conference on Weights and Measures is expected to agree one of the largest changes to the International System of Units (the SI) since its inception which will result in further improvements in measurement science and technology to meet the needs of future users for many years to come.
Namibia through the NSI will commemorate this day through the hosting a stakeholder’s dinner event on the 18 May 2018 in Windhoek, targeted at senior government officials responsible for policy and decision making and support for metrology quality infrastructure and stakeholders in the metrology business. The event will also celebrate the achievements of NSI’s Metrology laboratory, based in Windhoek’s Prosperita, in terms of accreditation and will host an official handover of the accreditation certificates for both mass and volume laboratories. The NSI has invited speakers from the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) and the Southern African Development Community Accreditation Services (SADCAS) to discuss the redefinition of SI units and on the importance of accreditation.
The International System of Units (SI) is the accepted set of units for all applications of measurement worldwide, these enable the determination of length, mass, volume, time and temperature and other related quantities.
The NSI, as the National Metrology Institute in Namibia, plays an important role in ensuring that credible measurements standards are in place to service the food, transport industry, wholesale and retail sector and medical industry. The NSI does so through the maintenance of measurement standards and the administration of the Metrology Act. In the transport sector the NSI regulates measurements of quantities of products such as the fuels, oils and measuring instruments used in the fuel industry.
In the retail sector, the NSI inspects all pre-packaged goods and weighing scales in the supermarkets to ensure they comply with the required quantities declared, this ensures that Namibian consumers have peace of mind that pre-packages contain the correct quantities.
The NSI regulates all measuring instruments used for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Container Weight Verification regulation. This regulation, implemented by the International Maritime Organisation, requires that shipping containers are weighed accurately and on time to ensure the safe loading of container ships.
The NSI plays a critical role in the area of road safety through ensuring the accuracy and compliance of measuring instruments used in law enforcement, these include speed measuring devices (speed cameras) and the evidential breath analysers.
Each year World Metrology Day is organized and celebrated jointly by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) with the participation of the national organizations responsible for metrology such as the NSI.
World Metrology Day signifies the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide. Namibia, through the NSI, participates in the activities of the Meter Convention through its Associate Membership of the General Conference of Weights and Measures (CGPM), having signed the International Committee of Weights and Measures – Mutual Recognition Arrangement (CIPM–MRA) in October 2012. Namibia is also a corresponding member of the International Organization on Legal Metrology (OIML) since 2012.
As science and technology progress, the demands for measurements to underpin new products and services will increase.