Based on the practical experience gained during the development of an automatic fringe tracing and ordering programme at the City University Thermo-Fluids Laboratory, the paper presents a critical appraisal of available fringe analysis techniques, ending with a flow chart which delineates the necessary steps, and, where applicable, the viable alternatives for the one- or two-dimensional analysis of infinite fringe data. One dimensional fringe analysis can be applied where only single scan data is required and the fringe analysis routines can be run essentially normal to the fringes. In this case, a choice of five viable techniques is available for the analysis, but automatic fringe ordering is impossible without extensive a priori knowledge, because of the lack of whole field data. Two dimensional fringe analysis can be performed either by edge detection or by medial line extraction; the latter of these is time consuming but somewhat more accurate. Fringe ordering by manual, semi- or fully-automatic techniques is possible in this case. If only limited data storage capacity is available then it may be necessary to use a redundancy algorithm to reduce the amount of data to more moderate proportions.