Surface measurement using 3D stylus instruments is a relatively new technique which offers numerous advantages over the more common profilometry methods. The information generated is, unlike profile measurements, less subjective and more statistically relevant providing additional insight regarding the surface structure. One application of surface measurement which 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 the surface interaction of the grinding wheel as well as enabling improved control of the grinding process in general. Through the employment of novel 3D surface descriptors, this paper will investigate the topographic change which occurs on both the wheel and workpiece and attempt to relate this to force data and scanning electron microscopy. The results will demonstrate that this topographic characterisation technique correlates well with more accepted methods.