3-Dimensional X-Ray Diffraction (3DXRD) microscopy is a tool for fast and non-destructive characterization of the individual grains, sub-grains and domains inside bulk materials. The method is based on diffraction with highly penetrating hard x-rays, enabling 3D studies of millimeter - centimeter thick specimens. The position, volume, orientation, elastic and plastic strain can be derived for hundreds of grains simultaneously. Furthermore, by applying novel reconstruction methods 3D maps of the grain boundaries can be generated. With the present 3DXRD microscope set-up at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the spatial resolution is ~ 5 µm, while grains of size 100 nm can be detected. 3DXRD microscopy enables, for the first time, dynamic studies of the individual grains and sub-grains within polycrystalline materials. The methodology is reviewed with emphasis on recent advances in grain mapping. Based on this a series of general 3DXRD approaches are identified for studies of nucleation and growth phenomena such as recovery, recrystallisation and grain growth in metals.