Controversy exists between anatomical methods and single cell recording as the preferred approach in target localisation in functional neurosurgery for movement disorders. The controversy centres on accuracy as compared to practicality. We describe a mapping technique of semi-microstimulation utilising threshold measurements which has been used in 66 procedures in 50 subjects. We compared the accuracy of anatomical localisation with the final chosen target using the above technique. We also compared the benefit, the side effects and the surgical complication rate with published data on single cell recording and anatomical localisation. The mean difference in 3-dimensional space between the anatomical target and the physiological target was 6.85 mm (P < 0.0001). A good response was obtained in 80% of procedures. Mortality was 1.5%. The surgical complication rate was 1.5%. Mild side effects, serious side effects, transient side effects and permanent side effects were evident in 4.5%, 10.6%, 6.1% and 9.1% of procedures. These figures compared better than anatomical studies and similar to single cell recording studies. It is concluded that this approach provides both accuracy and simplicity and is recommended as a compromise to the currently available methods.