The invention relates to a method and apparatus for topological or shape measurement of objects of any size, by using an interferometric technique comprising an optical source, with selectable coherence, allowing contouring from single shot interferograms or holograms, giving access to absolute tri-dimensional topography of illuminated object. A contour depth is obtained based on only one acquisition, which enables to obtain depth signal and quantitative measurements even in harsh environments and on changing samples. This allows for real time record of topography changes and/or distance to surface measurements. The apparatus can be used independently for high precision metrology or incorporated in or connected to any imaging device like an endoscope. This opens new possibilities for industrial metrology as well as for medical applications.