The organization known as ISO is chartered to create standards that are accepted and can be used worldwide. The three official languages used at ISO are English, French and Russian. The full name for ISO in English is the International Organization for Standardization, in French it is Organisation Internationale de Normalisation and in Russian Международная Oрганизация по Cтандартизации (pronounced Myezhdunarodnaya organizatsiya po standartizatsii). The name ISO means equal and is derived from the Greek word isos (ἴσος). ISO was chosen to avoid having different abbreviations in the various languages.


ISO’s headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland and its members represent 164 countries as of 2014. This compares with 193 countries in the United Nations. Thus, almost all the countries of the world with manufacturing or international trade economic sectors are represented in ISO. Each country sends a delegation to the annual general assembly and provides experts to staff the various committees. Most delegations are the host country´s standards organization. For example, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) represents the United States in the ISO general assembly and in committees and is one of the important standards organization in the United States.


Most of the work under ISO is done in the committees. Each committee has a narrow scope of interest such as drafting (TC 10), GD&T (TC 213), shipping containers (TC 104), nuclear energy (TC 85), online reputation (TC 290), etc. A complete list of the active committees can be seen at Committee members are selected because of their expertise and interest on the subject and represent industry, commerce, government and academia. The committees produce standards that represent a consensus of the best practices in a particular field.


In the field of drafting, the two relevant committees are TC 10-Technical products documentation and TC 213-Dimensional and geometrical product specifications and verification. Some of the important standards relevant to drafting practice are: ISO 128 (numerous parts) for technical drawings and ISO 1101 and 2692 for GD&T practice. Other important standards are ISO 8015 for dimensioning and ISO 2768 (Part 1 and Part 2) covering recommended geometric tolerances. There are many more standards. Consult the ISO website at or CADeducators at for more information about ISO standards important in drafting and for information about how to purchase these documents.


The ISO standard uses 1st angle projection and millimeters. Drawings should have the symbol in the Figure B.1 below to indicate the 1st angle projection. Figure B.2 is a representation of the projections in a first angle representation. Figure B.3 shows how the first angle projection looks in a technical drawing.


Finally, remember that ISO is a voluntary standard and that translates into custom country standards that are derived from ISO, but can have variations. For example, DIN ISO is Germany´s version of the ISO standards. DIN is for Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (i.e. the German Institute for Standardization).