Stereoscopic 3D is the use of aerial photos in conjunction with a stereoscope to see the features of the land in three dimensions. Hills, houses, and trees will look like they are coming up toward your eyes while rivers and depressions will look like they are receding into the depths.

All present day U.S.G.S. (United States Geological Survey) topographic maps are produced through the use of stereoscopic aerial photos. Fish-n-Map Company is now featuring these same stereoscopic 3D aerial photos on a number of lake maps. These photos offer a birdseye view of the land before it was covered with water. By viewing these photos in stereoscopic 3D, the fisherman is given the opportunity to form his or her own analysis of the structure of the lake; hence the fisherman has the ability to interpret potential fishing hot spots such as point bars, channels, underwater humps, timbered and cleared areas, and other lake bottom features.

Fish-n-Map Company shows two sets of pre-inundation aerial photos: One set is a montage of photos showing the lake in 2D. This set can not be viewed in 3D but is used to show the area of each stereoscopic strip of photos. Note that each stereoscopic area is outlined as a rectangle on the montage and is numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6...etc. This montage also offers the fisherman an overall, aerial view of the lake in 2D.

The second set of photos are paired stereoscopic photo strips which are labeled 1a & 1b, 2a & 2b, 3a & 3b, etc. which correspond to the numbered rectangular areas shown in the montage photos. By straddling the stereoscope over the stereoscopic pairs of photos, the viewer can observe the pre-inundation terrain in 3D. Use the following steps to view the strips of photos in 3D:

  1. Open the legs of the stereoscope so that the embossed words are readable on top of the stereoscope.
  2. Pivot the nose area so that the little arrow located at the pivot point is set at approximately 65 (A small piece of tape will help secure this setting).
  3. Place the stereoscope over the set of sequential photos so that the stereoscope straddles the two sets of photos 1a & 1b, 2a & 2b, 3a & 3b, etc. The length of the stereoscope should now be facing north-south with relationship to the map (See diagram right).
  4. Look into the stereoscope with both eyes. If you are nearsighted, you must wear your eye glasses of long distance viewing. If you wear bifocals, you must look through the long distance viewing area. By looking through the stereoscope, you should be able to see everything in three dimensions (3D) I.e.: variations in terrain elevation can be seen. Also note that the stereoscope doubles the size of the photo image. Depending on the quality of the stereoscope, some distortion may be present.
  5. You should not see double images when you look through the stereoscope. Your eyes must "tune in", forcing all images to merge into one, thereby giving you a 3D image. If you are seeing a double image, vary the distance between the stereoscope and your eyes, until one single 3D image is seen. Your eyes will be about 1 1/2" to 2 inches from the stereoscope. Concentrate on the terrain rather than the coastline.
  6. Gradually move the stereoscope along the photos so that it always straddles the two sets of photos. Note: For best results, use lamp-light aimed directly at the image. Position to avoid any shadows.


Fish-n-Map Company as available three different stereoscopes for the fisherman. The first stereoscope, retailing for $7.99, is made of plastic with aluminum legs. Some distortion exists when viewing the photos with this stereoscope. The second stereoscope, retailing for $55.00, is a professional instrument having glass lenses with a metal frame and legs. No distortion exists when viewing photos with this fine instrument. The third stereoscope, retailing for $3.00, is a hand-held unit consisting of two plastic lenses with no legs. This hand-held stereoscope is not recommended for the beginner, since the distance between the photos, the instrument, and the viewer's eyes must be adjusted by the viewer. However, this instrument is the most portable and can be used on the water.

You may order these steroscopes here from our catalog


Pre-inundation aerial photos are available from Fish-n-Map Company. The following 3D lake photos are available having the corresponding scales:

  1. Lake Conroe 1:20,000
  2. Lake Fork 1:40,000
  3. Lake Livingston 1:69,000
  4. Richland-Chambers 1:40,000
  5. Sam Rayburn 1:37,000
  6. Toledo Bend 1:69,000

These photos, presented in continuous tone, offer high quality viewing of the lake bottom terrain prior to the lake being filled with water. These continuous tone photos have higher resolution than those photos presented on the lake maps as the map photos are presented in half-tones (pixel dot form).

These continuous tone, individual photos, may be special ordered by calling Fish-n-Map Company, Inc. at (303)421-5994.

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