In thermal spray deposition techniques, surface coating characterization is an important indicator for a quality control of the processes. The most commonly used standards in industry relate the surface geometry to different surface parameters and statistical functions. The bias resulting from the measurements become too important and the description ceases to be representative of the topology of the surface. This paper deals with the different methods for investigating the extent of fracture in the upper layers with the help of special image analysis systems. It explains the basic concept and the procedures that are used, and describes practical examples and precautionary measures that must be observed in order to obtain accurate and reproducible measurement results. Paper includes a German-language abstract.