The decreased cost and increased processing speed for terrestrial laser scanners have made this remote sensing procedure much more attractive. The approach has two major advantages over traditional surveying: (1) a registration of the survey instrument independent of any physical benchmarks. Thus, if the entire area is experiencing subsidence, the quality of the final results will not be compromised as they will be absolute measurements, as opposed to relative ones because they are based on a global positioning registration; (2) the ability of the technologies to highlight cracks in masonry. Unfortunately, despite major advances in the equipment and software, the technology is arguably not fully ready for the task of automated retaining wall monitoring. This paper will outline the challenges that remain with respect to registration and displacement monitoring. Copyright ASCE 2008.