Abstract A single nickel crystal is indented with a wedge indenter such that a two-dimensional deformation state with three effective plane strain slip systems is induced. The in-plane lattice rotation of the crystal lattice is measured with a three micrometer spatial resolution using Orientation Imaging Microscopy (OIM). All non-zero components of the Nye dislocation density tensor are calculated from the lattice rotation field. A rigorous analytical expression is derived for the lower bound of the total Geometrically Necessary Dislocation (GND) density. Existence and uniqueness of the lower bound are demonstrated, and the apportionment of the total GND density onto the effective individual slip systems is determined. The lower bound solution reduces to the exact solution under circumstances in which only one or two of the effective slip systems are known to have been activated. The results give insight into the active slip systems as well as the dislocation structures formed in the nickel crystal as a result of the wedge indentation.