A noncontacting measurement approach is presented that involves the measurement of the local curvature of the test piece by simultaneously measuring its slope at two slightly displaced locations. As the sensing beams are scanned along the test piece, a profile of curvature is built, from which the height profile is deduced by double integration. The sensing of curvature eliminates the need for a reference surface, and makes the approach insensitive to all types of vibration and drift, both in surface height and in surface slope. The approach is considered to be well suited to measuring grazing incidence optics with highly different transverse and longitudinal radii of curvature. Implementation features including a steering mirror and a movable detector provide for servo tracking of test pieces as fast as F-0.5, with radii as small as 20 mm (convex or concave).