The Modern Measurement Challenge

TitleThe Modern Measurement Challenge
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHarold Kirkham, Rod White
Conference Name2019 IEEE International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference (I2MTC)
Date Published05/2019
Conference LocationAuckland, New Zealand

Encouraged by the remarkable success of modern instrumentation, some practitioners ascribe to measurement results an undeserved degree of trust. For many, an uncertainty value originating in a calibration laboratory is applicable outside the laboratory, so a separate purpose-based statement of uncertainty is unnecessary. Usually, neither assumption is justifiable. By using the phasor measurement unit as an example, we explore the relationship between measurement models and reality, and the impact of representationalist remedies (changes to the model) and operationalist remedies (generally, added filtering) on the measurement. We argue that a challenge facing the world of measurement is improved communication between engineers and calibration laboratory staff, so that they properly understand each other's needs and approaches to measurement and can together understand the limitations to produce measurements that are fit for purpose.