Section 208 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 provided the opportunity and funding to fight water pollution through the use of regional water quality planning. A common requirement of the 208 program is to develop a capability of predicting water quality in the rivers and lakes resulting from existing and potential land-use policies. To achieve this capability, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments is developing a deterministic model capable of predicting sediment and nutrient flow into the waterways. An essential input to OKI's model is an accurate map of land use within the watersheds. This information was obtained by OKI through the machine processing of LANDSAT-1 digital tapes. Computer tabulations were generated to obtain area covered by each of 16 land-use categories within 225 drainage areas. The 16 categories were merged into 10 categories and mapped at a scale of 1 inch = 5,000 feet with detail to 0.44 hectares (1.1 acres) for the 2,700-square mile region. The map products and data were produced within a period of less than 90 days at a cost of $20,000, a significant improvement in dollars and time over conventional mapping techniques.

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