The paper starts with a review of integration techniques for calculating height maps from dense gradient fields. There exist a few proposals of local integration methods, and two proposals for global optimization. Several experimental evaluations of such integration techniques are discussed in this paper. The examined algorithms received high markings on curved objects but low markings on polyhedral shapes. Locally adaptive approaches are suggested to cope with complex shapes in general.© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.