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# What is Mensuration?

Article Details
• Written By: Malcolm Tatum
• Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
2003-2016
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In the broadest sense, mensuration is all about the process of measurement. It is based on the use of algebraic equations and geometric calculations to provide measurement data regarding the width, depth, and volume of a given object or group of objects. While the measurement results are estimates rather than actual physical measurements, the calculations are usually considered very accurate.

One industry where the use of mensuration is employed on a regular basis is forestry. Making use of the formulas and various math disciplines to determine the pattern of anticipated growth of new trees is very important. Using this technique to make projections on when a group of trees will be ready for harvest can help a business determine how much timber will be available for sale in any given sales cycle.

This form of measurement is also key to the process of planting new forests for harvesting at a later date. Understanding the rate of growth and the volume of growth that can be reasonably expected to occur within a given time frame helps to ensure that future generations will have enough trees to meet industry needs.

Mensuration is often based on making use of a model or base object that serves as the standard for making the calculations. From that point, advanced mathematics is employed to project measurements of length, width, and weight associated with like items. The end result is data that can help to make the best use of resources available today while still planning responsibly for the future.

While this technique is normally associated with measurements within the timber industry, the general principles can be applied in other venues as well. For example, the basics can be used to project any type of phenomenon where growth of some sort is anticipated. As a result, mensuration may be used to project learning curves, the process of managing any type of renewable resource, or even something as simple as a projected average growth pattern for an individual.

In general, the utilization of the principles of algebra and geometry in the measuring process are capable of providing reliable data that is based on the existence of a specified set of factors. It is important to note, however, that mensuration is not the only approach that is used to project future growth and volume. Because there is always the chance for unexpected elements to enter the process, the measurements obtained from the process are normally considered a baseline. Predictions of future patterns that do factor in acts of nature and other volatile factors are then created using the results as the foundation rather than the sole projection of the ultimate outcome.

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