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# CONSTANT ERROR

 A systematic error of unchanging magnitude and sign throughout a given series of observations. Also called BIAS ERROR

## Related Terms

### SPEED ERROR

An error in both pendulous and nonpendulous type gyrocompasses resulting from movement of the gyrocompass in other than an east-west direction. The error is westerly if any component of the ship’s course is north, and easterly if south. Its magnitude is proportional to the course, speed, and latitude of the ship.

### NORMAL DISTRIBUTION

A mathematical law which predicts the probability that the random error of any given observation of a series of observations of a certain quantity will lie within certain bounds. The law can be derived from the following properties of random errors: (1) positive and negative errors of the same magnitude are about equal in number, (2) small errors occur more frequently than large errors, and (3) extremely large errors rarely occur. One immediate consequence of these properties is that the average or mean value of a large number of observations of a given quantity is zero. Also called GAUSSIAN DISTRIBUTION.

### RANDOM ERROR

One of the two categories of errors of observation and measurement, the other category being systematic error. Random errors are the errors which occur when irregular, randomly occurring conditions affect the observing instrument, the observer and the environment, and the quantity being observed so that observations of the same quantity made with the same equipment and observer under the same observing conditions result in different values of the observed quantity. Random errors depend upon (1) the quality of the observing instrument. (2) the skill of the observer, particularly, the ability to estimate the fraction of the smallest division or graduation on the observing instrument, and (3) randomly fluctuating conditions such as temperature, pressure, refraction, etc. For many types of observations, random errors are characterized by the following properties: (1) positive and negative errors of the same magnitude are about equal in number, (2) small errors occur more frequently than large errors. and (3) extremely large errors rarely occur. These properties of random errors permit the use of a mathematical law called the Gaussian or normal distribution of errors to calculate the probability that the random error of any given observation of a series of observations will lie within certain limits. Random error might more properly be called deviation since mathematically, the random error of an individual observation is calculated as the difference or deviation between the actual observation and an improved or adjusted value of the observation obtained by some mathematical technique such as averaging all the observations. Also called ACCIDENTAL ERROR, CHANCE ERROR, IRREGULAR ERROR, STATISTICAL ERROR.

### ERROR SIGNAL

In an automatic control device, a signal whose magnitude and sign are used to correct the alignment between the controlling and the controlled elements. See error voltage.

### PERSONAL ERROR

A systematic error in the observation of a quantity due to the personal idiosyncrasies of the observer. Also called PERSONAL EQUATION.

### SOLID

Any substance having a definite shape which it does not readily relinquish. More generally, any substance in which the force required to produce a deformation depends upon the magnitude of the deformation rather than upon the rate of deformation.

### SEMISOLID

Any substance having the attributes of both a solid and a liquid. Similar to semiliquid but being more closely related to a solid than a liquid. More generally, any substance in which the force required to produce a deformation depends both on the magnitude and on the rate of the deformation.

### XTE

Cross Track Error

### TOTAL ERROR

The whole error of a measuring instrument under specified conditions of use.

### LIQUID

Any substance that flows readily or changes in response to the smallest influence. More generally, any substance in which the force required to produce a deformation depends on the rate of deformation rather than on the magnitude of the deformation.

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