The evolution of the United States' coastal zone response to both human activities and natural processes is dynamic. Coastal resource and population protection requires understanding, in detail, the processes needed for change as well as the physical setting. Sustained coastal area mapping allows change to be documented and baseline conditions to be established, as well as future behavior to be predicted in conjunction with physical process models. Hyperspectral imagers and airborne lidars, as well as other recent mapping technology advances, allow rapid national scale land use information and high-resolution elevation data collection. Coastal hazard risk evaluation has critical dependence on these rich data sets. A fundamental storm surge model parameter in predicting flooding location, for example, is coastal elevation data, and a foundation in identifying the most vulnerable populations and resources is land use maps. A wealth of information for physical change process study, coastal resource and community management and protection, and coastal area hazard vulnerability determination, is available in a comprehensive national coastal mapping plan designed to take advantage of recent mapping technology progress and data distribution, management, and collection.