Reliable measurement of wear and friction on surfaces with micron and nano scale roughness is challenging due to the inherent complexities in sample topography, preparation and handling. We present an advanced characterization technique combining traditional tribological measurements with high-resolution inline imaging using a profilometer. An exploratory study showing wear characterization and friction measurements on Stainless Steel Alloy against a WC ball using Rtec instrument tribometer MFT-5000 is discussed. The presented method can be used to investigate the sample at the onset of wear within one setup, eliminating the need to wait for visible wear and significantly reducing variations during sample handling. These advanced characterization capabilities have the potential to significantly enhance studies of wear initiation and mechanism in a wide range of systems.