Impervious surface distribution is one of the key indicators of the regional and urban environment, and plays an important role in development planning and ecological assessment. Impervious surface extraction and analysis however has been overlooked in much of the work on monitoring national geographic conditions. Impervious surface mapping based on remote sensing technology has attracted lots of interest. as it can be used to estimate the distribution of impervious surfaces over large areas quickly and accurately. This paper starts with a review of the classical methods for impervious surface mapping using remote sensing data. The important applications of impervious surface mapping are summarized, including hydrology, heat island effect, land use/land cover development monitoring and planning, urban ecology condition assessment, and city planning. Finally, the suggestions for future applications of impervious surface mapping based on remote sensing technology in China are proposed. The contents in this paper demonstrate why impervious surface should be included in national geographic condition monitoring projects in the future.