BACKGROUND Color-coded corneal maps produced by computer-assisted videokeratographers (CAVKs) have become an indispensable tool for clinical understanding of corneal shape. However, Placido-based CAVKs are criticized as theoretically incapable of producing accurate corneal height information. PURPOSE This paper describes how the Keratron (Optikon 2000, Rome, Italy) integrated design innovations to achieve accuracy and map use previously thought to be unobtainable. METHODS The Keratron implemented a spherically unbiased surface reconstruction method that yields height, axial power, and instantaneous curvature without derivation of one quantity from another. Processing innovations resulted in sub-micron height accuracy. The Keratron includes axial power, instantaneous curvature, refractive maps, a height map (spherical offset), pupil edge detection, a "move axis" feature, process editing, indices, a contact lens program, and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) simulation. CONCLUSIONS The algorithms for surface reconstruction and the design solutions implemented in the Keratron resulted in accurate height, axial power, and instantaneous curvature measurement and valid, clinically useful maps, as well as additional user options and features.