We describe and experimentally demonstrate a novel (to our knowledge) surface profiling technique, for which we propose the term closed-loop optical coherence topography. This technique is a scanning beam, servo-locked variation of low-coherence interferometry. It allows for the sub-wavelength-resolution tracking of a weakly scattering macroscopic-scale surface, with the surface profile being directly output by the controlling electronics. The absence of significant real-time computational overhead makes the technique well suited to high-speed tracking. The use of a micrometer-scale coherence gate efficiently suppresses signals arising from structures not associated with the surface. These features make the technique particularly well suited to real-time surface profiling of in vivo, macroscopic biological surfaces, (C) 2002 Optical Society of America.