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Roles and Responsibilities of NIST in the Development of Documentary Standards



Prem K. Rachakonda, Balasubramanian Muralikrishnan, Daniel S. Sawyer


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency of the Department of Commerce and is the national metrology institute of the US. The background of NIST's role in the development of voluntary consensus standards (VCS) is rooted in many policy decisions and government directives that happened in the 1980s and 1990s. NIST has been a leader in development of both physical and documentary standards ever since its founding in 1901. The Dimensional Metrology Group (DMG) at NIST develops, performs, and delivers measurements and standards that promote US innovation and industrial competitiveness. NIST DMG has been involved in many standards committees that are a part of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), American Society for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) and more lately ASTM. Recently, NIST DMG, along with various other organizations was involved in the development of an ASTM documentary standard for 3D imaging systems. NIST led the effort and was a major contributor in developing this standard and this activity led to the publication of the ASTM E3125-17 standard in 2017. This standards development process was systematic, which in turn enabled a balanced approach that addressed the concerns of the stakeholders while maintaining their involvement and establishing a consensus. This paper will describe some of the notable events and policies to understand how NIST derives its standing among many standards development bodies. The paper will then describe the role of DMG in the standards development process. This includes some of the technical and procedural challenges faced by the working group that published the ASTM E3125-17 3D imaging standard.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the CMSC
Conference Dates
July 23-27, 2018
Conference Location
Reno, NV
Conference Title
The Coordinate Metrology Society Conference


voluntary consensus standards, documentary standards, 3D imaging systems


Rachakonda, P. , Muralikrishnan, B. and Sawyer, D. (2018), Roles and Responsibilities of NIST in the Development of Documentary Standards, Proceedings of the CMSC, Reno, NV, [online], (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created July 27, 2018, Updated November 26, 2019