WHAT IS METROLOGY?By definition, Metrology is the science of measurement. It includes:
units of measurement and their standards
measuring instruments and their fields of application, and all theoretical and practical problems relating to measurement.
Metrology is classified in three main fields:
- Scientific Metrology
- Industrial Metrology
- Legal Metrology.
Is that part of metrology which deals with problems common to all metrological questions irrespective of the quantity measured. It covers general theoretical and practical problems concerning units of measurement, including their realization and dissemination through scientific methods, the problems of errors and uncertainties in measurement and the problems of metrological properties of measuring instruments.
Related to this field, there are different specialist areas of metrology, for example:
Mass metrology dealing with mass measurements;
Dimensional metrology dealing with length and angle measurements;
Temperature metrology dealing with temperature measurements;
Electrical metrology dealing with electrical measurements;
Chemical metrology dealing with measurements in chemistry.
Deals with measurements in production and quality control. It covers calibration procedures, calibration intervals, control of measurement processes and management of measuring instruments in industry to ensure that they are in a state of compliance with requirements for their intended use.
Legal metrology is that part of metrology which is subject to legal/regulatory control. It is defined in the International Vocabulary of Legal Metrology as that part of metrology relating to activities which result from statutory requirements and concern measurement, units of measurement, measuring instruments and methods of measurement and which are performed by competent bodies.
APPLICATION OF METROLOGY IN GAMBIA
In assigning roles and responsibilities for the delivery of metrology services, the Gambia Government decided to adopt the most current international best practice by separating Legal Metrology (backed by law and therefore mandatory) from the other two metrology fields (Scientific and Industrial which are generally voluntary). Thus, upon establishment The Gambia Standards Bureau was assigned to deliver Scientific and Industrial metrology services and thereby fill this decades-old void in metrological services for industry and enterprises in the country.
Prior to the setting-up of The Gambia Standards Bureau, Legal Metrology was the only metrological service in the Gambia and has been carried out by the Weights and Measures Bureau since the late 70s. The Weights and Measures Bureau is a Department within the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment. Essentially, legal metrology involves the verification of all weighing devices used in trade. It is therefore limited to weighing devices used ONLY in trade. If, for example, a balance (one type of weighing device) is used to check the weight of a person at home or the gym, it is not subjected to verification by the Weights and Measures Bureau because this scale is not used for any trading purpose. However, this type of balance can be calibrated by the National Metrology Laboratory of The Gambia Standards Bureau.
HOW DOES THE GAMBIA STANDARDS BUREAU CONDUCT METROLOGICAL SERVICES?
The Bureau set up its National Metrology Laboratory (NML) for the purpose of conducting Scientific and Industrial Metrology. This Laboratory has the same role as what is called National Metrology Institute in other countries. For reasons of stability requirements of the equipment, this Laboratory is located at Abuko, away from high traffic which causes vibration. The NML is equipped with three (3) separate laboratories in Mass, Temperature and Volume. The National Metrology Lab is the national custodian of the primary standards and undertakes their maintenance to ensure traceability to the international primary standards. More details of the NML can be found on the National Metrology Laboratory tab.