The phase-to-coordinate conversion is an important step for accurate 3-D shape measurement by use of structured light methods. We propose to use an absolute phase map in the Fourier transform method to achieve better accuracy in the phase-to-coordinate conversion. A cross-shaped marker is embedded in the fringe pattern that is projected onto the object. The position of the marker in the captured fringe image is detected and utilized to calculate the absolute phase map. For phase analysis of the fringe image, the marker is removed and the sinusoidal intensity distribution of the fringe pattern is restored before the forward and inverse Fourier transforms are applied. Experimental results of absolute phase retrieval and 3-D reconstruction are presented to show the feasibility of the proposed method.