Using an in situ load frame within a scanning electron microscope, a microstructural section on the surface of an annealed tantalum (Ta) polycrystalline specimen was mapped at successive tensile strain intervals, up to ~20% strain, using electron backscatter diffraction. A grain identification and correlation technique was developed for characterizing the evolving microstructure during loading. Presenting the correlated results builds on the reference orientation deviation (ROD) map concept where individual orientation measurements within a grain are compared with a reference orientation associated with that grain. In this case, individual orientation measurements in a deformed grain are measured relative to a reference orientation derived from the undeformed (initial) configuration rather than the current deformed configuration as has been done for previous ROD schemes. Using this technique helps reveal the evolution of crystallographic orientation gradients and development of deformation-induced substructure within grains. Although overall crystallographic texture evolved slowly during deformation, orientation spread within grains developed quickly. In some locations, misorientation relative to the original orientation of a grain exceeded 20° by 15% strain. The largest orientation changes often appeared near grain boundaries suggesting that these regions were preferred locations for the initial development of subgrains.