Surface measurement using three-dimensional stylus instruments is a relatively new technique that offers numerous advantages over more traditional profilometry methods. The information generated is, unlike profile measurement, less subjective and more statistical providing additional insight into the surface structure. One application of surface measurement that has encountered problems when using the profilometry method is that of grinding wheel characterisation. The wheel surface texture (topography) and the conditions under which it is generated have a profound effect upon the grinding performance as characterised by the grinding forces, power consumption, temperature, and surface integrity of components. A detailed knowledge of the nature of the topography of the grinding wheel would provide further insight into surface interactions between the wheel and workpiece as well as enabling improved control of the grinding process in general. In this paper four diamond grinding wheels of 91 and 181 micron grit size were subjected to differing dressing conditions to produce varying final wheel topographies. Three-dimensional surface measurement techniques were employed to quantitatively characterise the topographic change and provide an aerial estimation of the number of cutting grains. The results demonstrate that the techniques can distinguish between a worn and dressed wheel. In addition, the parametric values generated from the various surfaces can aid the user in determining when re-dressing is required.