Maps, representing a coding of spatial information on a geographic coordinate reference, are indispensable to many of us since we live, work and play on or very near the earth's surface. Maps serve the purpose of presenting coded terrain information of potential value to the user in his decision-making processes. There has always been a continuing need to produce accurate maps but today's increasing requirements for maps call for more rapid production of accurate maps at minimal costs. Map production involves a series of complicated processes. Future progress in producing maps faster and cheaper while retaining or improving accuracy will require either, or a combination, of two general approaches. The first and simplest approach is to improve existing technology by perfecting present equipment and techniques involved in the mapping processes. The second calls for new technologies which implies innovation and new approaches to equipment and techniques in the mapping processes. Introduction of analog and digital computers, for example, has led to sizable gains which include valuable approaches to analytical photogrammetry and automated mensuration, and present research and development indicates that many additional accomplishments will emerge. Yet there will remain requirements to improve many aspects of map production. Coherent optics has the potential for playing many roles in the mapping systems of the future.