Abstract：The global atmospheric electrical circuit is closely related to the human activities, and the electrical conductivity is an essential parameter of the atmosphere electrodynamics. In 1905, the cylinder capacitive conductivity instruments were developed by the Gerdien, and the atmospheric electrical conductivity could be measured in-situ on balloon ascents. From then on, the atmospheric electrical conductivity measurement technology has been developing continually and found wide applications, especially with the development of the microelectronics technology and the atmospheric electricity. Now, the Gerdien conductivity meter has developed into an efficient tool for the atmospheric detection, for atmospheric electric conductivity, concentrations of positive and negative ions, air aerosol, and for the investigation of large-scale distributions of radioactive mineral areas. This paper reviews the atmospheric conductivity measurement, including its applications, concepts and roles, and the international measurement progress of atmospheric conductivity. The measurement principle, improvement, application of the Gerdien condenser is mainly discussed. In China, only a few studies have been carried out in the atmosphere conductivity detection area and much more studies are necessary in the basic electrical parameter detection.