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Measure Formats

This is a collection of existing measure formats.

Normalized Scientific Notation

The scientific notation for measured values had been used for decades worldwide; it should be the base of discussion for a measurement microformat.

It actually translates flawlessly in 'Plain Old Semantic Html' terms:

       <span class="hmeasure">
           <a href="/depth" rel="tag" class="data-name">Depth</a>:
             ( <span class="data-value">2.17</span> +/-
                  <span class="data-error"> 0.02</span> )
                  x 10<sup class="exp">3</sup>
                  <abbr class="unit-measure" title="m">meters</abbr>.

Even if seldomly displayed in non-technical contexts, observational errors are inherently defined in any measuring process, and needed for further processing.

Common, simpler notations as those found outside the scientific realm can still be expressed in terms of the above semantic structure; by just making data-error, exp, and the rel-tag definition optional, and by not enforcing strict rules on the number of digits and SI units.


UNECE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has standardized the measurement unit codes for use in Trade.


ACORD, a leading insurance standardization organization uses the following semantics for expressing measures:

  • Measurement
    • NumUnits (Required) Decimal
    • UnitMeasurementCd (Optional) the value must be one of the ones defined by UNECE.

Systeme International

The internation system of measures consists of base and derived units of measure.

For instance, meter (m) is the elementary unit of length, second (s) the elementary unit of time, and speed or velocity is derived and expressed in meter per second (m/s).

SI Base Units

ampereAElectrical current
kelvinKThermodynamic temperature
molemolAmount of substance
candelacdLuminous intensity

SI Derived Units

area square meter m2 volume cubic meter m3 speed, velocity meter per second m/s acceleration meter per second squared m/s2 wave number reciprocal meter m-1 mass density kilogram per cubic meter kg/m3 specific volume cubic meter per kilogram m3/kg current density ampere per square meter A/m2 magnetic field strength ampere per meter A/m amount-of-substance concentration mole per cubic meter mol/m3 luminance candela per square meter cd/m2 mass fraction kilogram per kilogram, which may be represented by the number 1 kg/kg = 1

The Unified Code for Units of Measure

The Unified Code for Units of Measure


"UBL is designed to provide a universally understood and recognized commercial syntax for legally binding business documents and to operate within a standard business framework such as ISO 15000 (ebXML) to provide a complete, standards-based infrastructure that can extend the benefits of existing EDI systems to businesses of all sizes."

UBL uses the following semantics for prices:

  • In the context of an Order. a LineItem can have a Quantity which is qualified with a unitCode.
  • In the context of the price of a product: a Price has a PriceAmount qualified with a currencyID, and a BaseQuantity (usually 1) qualified with a unitCode.

The value of unitCode are those defined by UNECE.

See also