2. Definition 

Remember parallax? When using a telescoped instrument, parallax occurs when the sighted object and crosshairs don't come to exact foucs on the back of the observer's eye, Figure F-2. Moving the head slightly will cause one image to move across the other.

(a) Initial sight 

(b) Eye slightly shifted sideways 
Figure F-2


We don't want parallax when using a telescope because it causes sighting error BUT in stereophotography, parallax helps us determine point distances. Parallax is the amount a point moves between two photos. 

Figure F-3 shows two points at different elevations appearing on two successive photos.

 Figure F-3
Successive Photos


The parallax for each point can be compared by overlaying the photos, Figure F-4.

Figure F-4
Parallax Distances


From Figures F-3 and F-4 it is apparent that parallax is:

  • a measurable quantity
  • related to elevation: the higher the point, the larger its parallax.

Since parallax can be measured, elevations can be determined provided sufficient support information is available.