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Traceability in Europe


PTB is a member of EURAMET, the European Association of National Metrology Institutes. One of EURAMET’s essential goals is to provide an efficient, internationally competitive metrological infrastructure. A wide range of activities exist within EURAMET which are designed to meet this goal. One activity consists in having institutes trace certain measurands and measuring ranges to institutes in other countries. Individual countries then no longer have to maintain their own national primary standards, leading to an efficient use of resources throughout Europe.

Traceability relations in dimensional metrology

Last year, the current status of traceability relations in Europe was investigated by PTB’s Presidential Staff Office. To this end, the BIPM’s key comparison database (KCDB), which features a total of 7,951 European entries, was analyzed as the sole data source. This number does not include entries from the Consultative Committee for Amount of Substance: Metrology in Chemistry and Biology (CCQM); these latter entries, due to their special technical characteristics, require a separate analysis. For all remaining entries in the KCDB, the provision of traceability between pairs of countries was determined using an automatic software tool. This information was compiled in diagrams which show all EURAMET member countries, sorted according to the country code used by the BIPM. A tapered line between two countries indicates that at least one institution in one of the countries provides traceability for the other; the direction of dissemination is from the thin to the thick end of the line. A gray circle symbolizes the fact that there is no entry from this country in the KCDB. A circle with a country code without a connecting line indicates that traceability is provided within that country or from outside EURAMET. Diagrams such as these were prepared separately for the metrological disciplines (e.g. dimensional metrology, flow rate). They are impressive evidence of the high degree of cooperation within EURAMET.