Industry Insight: The Coordinate Metrology Society

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Belinda Jones, HiTech Marketing LLC

Belinda Jones of HiTech Marketing LLC writes extensively about 3D and web-based technologies. The CMS is an international hub for metrologists and offers education, certification, and career-changing assets.

The Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) began with a small gathering of users and developers to solve a common problem — the standardization of theodolite targets. Now in its 36th year, the society has transformed from a conference-based organization into the eminent society for measurement professionals and provides education, career enhancement, and support to its global members. The society’s membership includes users of portable and stationary measurement systems and software that produces 3D coordinate data; service providers; academia; and OEMs of close-tolerance, industrial coordinate-measurement systems, software, and peripherals. Practitioners use a broad range of sophisticated software and hardware solutions, including articulating arms, CMMs (coordinate measuring machines), laser trackers, laser radar, photogrammetry/videogrammetry systems, scanners, indoor GPS, and laser projection systems.

Keynote speaker Michael Raphael, a veteran metrologist with more than 30 years of experience, giving the opening address, “The Future of 3D Metrology,” at CMSC 2019. Courtesy of CMS.

Keynote speaker Michael Raphael, a veteran metrologist with more than 30 years of experience, giving the opening address, “The Future of 3D Metrology,” at CMSC 2019. Courtesy of CMS.

To fulfill its mission of offering continuing education to metrologists, the society hosts a yearly conference. The event is well regarded for its expansive slate of original and expert technical papers, which are peer-reviewed by the CMS executive committee and selected for publication in The Journal of the CMSC. While the 2020 CMS Conference (CMSC) originally scheduled for July in New Orleans has been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., a 2021 date and location have been scheduled.

Recently, the CMS launched initiatives to further promote STEM education and metrology as career paths. In 2018, it began a “Women in Metrology” program. And the society opened its vault, making the CMS digital library — the most comprehensive repository of metrology knowledge and information in the world — available. The library includes more than 500 original technical papers from past conferences, and more than 120 technical papers have been published over the past 12 years in The Journal of the CSMC, and quarterly in the CMS World newsletter. The library can be accessed at

Coordinate metrology is a staple in manufacturing, R&D, and science. Metrologists are relied upon to provide measurement data crucial to everything from medical devices to aircraft. Because an operator dramatically influences data collection and analysis, it is important for a metrology service provider to truly “drive” systems with proficiency.

For this reason, the CMS has developed level-one and level-two certification programs. The programs enable 3D metrology professionals to earn credentials based on their knowledge, as well as on incremental achievements in mastery of metrology instrumentation along their entire career path. The credentials help companies quantify user proficiency, which is essential to ISO-certified manufacturers and enterprises with quality management systems. The level-one certification exam is a proctored, online assessment covering foundational theory and practice common to most portable 3D metrology devices. The level-two exam is a performance assessment for users of articulating arms, laser trackers, hand-held scanners, and traditional CMMs.

Additionally, the PrecisionPath Consortium for Large-Scale Manufacturing enables public-private partner collaboration to move advanced manufacturing forward. The CMS and UNC Charlotte (William States Lee College of Engineering), together with the consortium’s commercial industry partners, created a technology roadmap that details all aspects of the metrology industry as it relates to the challenges of large-scale manufacturing. The roadmap and report can be downloaded at

Finally, 3D Measurement U (3DMU) is the society’s new online video training arm launched in partnership with Quality Digest. 3DMU was initiated to provide an answer to metrology professionals’ common question: “How can I do this better?” The information is practical, appealing, state-of-the-art, and offered in an ever-expanding library of microvideos.

Published: April 2020
Metrology is the science and practice of measurement. It encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of measurement, including the development of measurement standards, techniques, and instruments, as well as the application of measurement principles in various fields. The primary objectives of metrology are to ensure accuracy, reliability, and consistency in measurements and to establish traceability to recognized standards. Metrology plays a crucial role in science, industry,...
Photogrammetry is a technique used to obtain accurate three-dimensional measurements of objects and environments through the analysis of photographs or imagery. It involves extracting information about the shape, size, and spatial properties of physical objects or scenes from photographs taken from different viewpoints. The word "photogrammetry" is derived from the Greek words "photos" (light) and "gramma" (drawing or measurement). The process of photogrammetry typically involves the...
metrologyCoordinate MetrologyCoordinate Metrology SocietyCMScoordinate measuring machineslaser trackerslaser radarphotogrammetryLaser Projection SystemsPrecisionPath Consortium3D MeasurementU3DMUIndustry EventsIndustry Insight

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