Current recommendations for portal placement in laparoscopy are often imprecise. The aim of this study was to establish and evaluate a mapping system for portal placement during laparoscopic procedures in small animals. Sixty-four final-year veterinary students took part in this in papyro study. Descriptions of portal placements of two recent veterinary laparoscopic papers were randomly chosen as templates. The students performed portal placement based either on the description in the papers or based on the orthogonal mapping system for portal placement developed by the authors in a previous pilot study. The participants were randomly divided into two groups and asked to virtually chart positions of the portals on two photographs of a dog"s abdomen. Group A (n = 31) placed the portals using the mapping system, and Group B (n = 33) placed the portals based on the explanations provided in two randomly selected studies.