A non-contact instrumentation system for measuring soil topography is described. This system is based on structured lighting techniques using image processing algorithms. Necessary equations are developed and implemented. The system was evaluated for accuracy using precisely constructed rigid objects. Measurement errors of less than 1 mm were obtained in all tests. The system was then evaluated for applicability to soils using profiles for two different soil types. Observed profiles were within the accuracy of a pin displacement measuring unit. The system proved to be an efficient and accurate technique for measuring surface profiles.