Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Difference between accuracy and resolution

  1. May 9, 2006 #1
    I have a few questions regarding measuring devices in systems such as ventilation, heating, cooling etc. When calibrating these I come accross the terms "accuracy" and "resolution" (directly translated from norwegian). I a bit confused about the difference of these. Can someone explain this to me...?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2006 #2

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    A layperson's answer - might not be as formal as someone in the industry:

    I have two tape measures A and B, A measures down to 1/8th inch increments, while B measures down to 1/32 inch increments. B has higher resolution.

    B has a little hook on the end on a slidey bit with a rivet (it took me a long time to figure out what that was for). Anyway, the slidey bit allows for too much play when I measure; it can slide around by as much as 1/16th of an inch.


    Ironically, while tape measure B has higher resolution, if I don't use it correctly, it is actually less accurate.
     
  4. May 9, 2006 #3

    FredGarvin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Just to echo what Dave mentioned:

    Accuracy: The closeness of a measurement to the actual value being measured.

    Resolution: The smallest detectable increment that an instrument will measure/display to.
     
  5. May 9, 2006 #4
    Accuracy: accuracy is the maximum spread in measurements made of slide movements during successive runs at a number of target points
    Resolution: Resolution refers to the smallest units of measurement that the system can recognize.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?