During the past several years, new types of geometric measure and dimension have been introduced; the packing measure and dimension, see [Su], [Tr] and [TT1]. These notions are playing an increasingly prevalent role in various aspects of dynamics and measure theory. Packing measure is a sort of dual of Hausdorff measure in that it is defined in terms of packings rather than coverings. However, in contrast to Hausdorff measure, the usual definition of packing measure requires two limiting procedures, first the construction of a premeasure and then a second standard limiting process to obtain the measure. This makes packing measure somewhat delicate to deal with. The question arises as to whether there is some simpler method for defining packing measure and dimension. In this paper, we find a basic limitation on this possibility. We do this by determining the descriptive set-theoretic complexity of the packing functions. Whereas the Hausdorff dimension function on the space of compact sets is Borel measurable, the packing dimension function is not. On the other hand, we show that the packing dimension functions are measurable with respect to the σ-algebra generated by the analytic sets. Thus, the usual sorts of measurability properties used in connection with Hausdorff measure, for example measures of sections and projections, remain true for packing measure.
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