Get my new weekly sketch in your inbox

Join over 30,000 people learning something new in a moment each Sunday.

Accuracy and precision

Accuracy and Precision illustration: 4 circular targets with red dots marking a series of strikes show the difference between accuracy and precision.

In my everyday life I’d have been hard pushed to put my finger on the difference between accuracy and precision but, in engineering at least, you learn that there is a clear difference between the two.

Precision describes how variable an outcome is, or how close repeated measurements or actions are to each other.

In contrast, something may be very precise but not be accurate to your intent or to the true value of a thing. That’s accuracy — how close you are to the true or intended value. If you’re hitting near your intended target then you’re accurate.

Hmm…one of those things where a sketchplanation works a whole lot better than words.

Also see:

That accuracy is true to intention and precision true to itself, I learned from Simon Winchester in Exactly: How precision engineers created the Modern World.


You’re welcome to use and share this image and text for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Go wild!
See licence

Buy Me A Coffee