In order to better understand the degree of cortical activation that occurs during bipolar surface stimulation, the authors stimulated monkey visual cortex while monitoring the degree of activation with optical imaging. Optical imaging of intrinsic signals in monkey visual cortex during visual stimulation resulted in functional maps of ocular dominance and orientation selectivity. After functional maps of ocular dominance and orientation preference were obtained, bipolar surface stimulation was applied to activate just the cortical areas around the bipolar electrodes. Graded responses to changes in the stimulation intensity and duration were found. These findings demonstrate the reliability of bipolar cortical surface stimulation in localizing functional regions of cortex. The area of activation, at least in the region around the bipolar stimulating electrodes, did not appear to activate nearby ocular dominance columns or orientation patches. Intraoperative bipolar surface stimulation continues to be a consistently reliable technique for localizing rolandic cortex and essential language sites.