Uniform sampling is the predominant sampling method for surface measuring instruments. However, measurement for structured surfaces brings an increasingly serious conflict between sampling range and small resolution. A flexible sampling design based on sufficient previous knowledge of the surface ingredient is a potential solution. Adaptive sampling techniques are such strategies. In this paper basic specifications and drawbacks of uniform sampling schemes were issued. As potential solutions, some advanced adaptive sampling methods e.g. sequential stopping sampling, optimal model-based strategies and adaptive allocation strategies etc which were raised from computer graphics, CAD/CAM and CMM measurement are surveyed. However, transplanting of these strategies to surface metrology instruments is still questionable. Two basic questions are raised at the end
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