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Passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 focused attention on the Nation's coastal land and water areas. As plans for more effective management of the coastal zone evolved, it soon became apparent that improved maps and charts of these areas were needed. This handbook was prepared with the requirements of the entire coastal community in mind, giving greatest attention to the needs of coastal zone managers and planners at the State and local levels. Its principal objective is to provide general information and guidance; it is neither a textbook nor a technical manual, but rather a primer on coastal mapping. This handbook should help planners and managers of coastal programs to determine their mapping requirements, select the best maps and charts for their particular needs, and to deal effectively with personnel who gather data and prepare maps. The sections on "Sources of Assistance and Advice" and "Product and Data Sources" should be especially useful to all involved in mapping the coastal zone. Brief summaries of the mapping efforts of several State coastal zone management programs are included. "Future outlook" discusses anticipated progress and changes in mapping procedures and techniques. Illustrations are inserted, where appropriate, to illustrate the products and equipment discussed. Because of printing restrictions, the colors in map illustrations may vary from those in the original publication. The appendixes include substantial material which also should be of interest. In addition a glossary and an index are included to provide easy and quick access to the terms and concepts used in the text. For those interested in more technical detail than is provided in this handbook, the "Selected references" will be useful. Also, the publications of the professional societies listed in appendix 4 will provide technical information in detail.