How to Submit Photos

a barn in a green field with a pond in front
This photo was submitted to the Visual Drought Atlas over Presidents’ Day Weekend 2020 and shows farmland in Skagit County, Wash. The National Drought Mitigation Center encourages everyone to take out their cell phones or cameras and—at a safe distance from others, of course—document your surroundings and submit images to the Visual Drought Atlas.

Submit photos from your surroundings to Visual Drought Atlas


The Visual Drought Atlas compares landscapes over time, showing what different places across the country look like in dry, wet and normal years. To do that, the Atlas utilizes snapshots of current conditions submitted by the public. No matter the conditions, your input helps. For consistency, we especially encourage submissions over four holidays—Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day—when people may have more time to visit their favorite places. But photo submissions are welcome any time of year. Filling out the Visual Drought Atlas report and submitting a few photos seasonally takes a few minutes, and greatly informs the Atlas. Here’s how to do it:


Use the compass icon on the map widget to pinpoint your location, or type in the search box if you’d rather only share the nearest city or the county.

Tell us where you are: Position the marker on the map for your location using one of three methods: 1) Click on the round compass icon and allow access to your location. 2) Enter an address or the name of a place in the search window. 3) Drag the map until the marker points to the correct location. Be sure to use the plus or minus if you want to zoom in or out after you have placed the marker, because scrolling will move the marker.


Just in case: Fill in the “Select your state and local jurisdiction” box below the map. It tells us if something has gone wrong in the previous step, but it doesn’t position the marker on the map.


Tell us when the photos were taken: Photos should be from a single day, but you can fill out the form more than once if you’d like to submit photos from different days.


Tell us how wet or dry it is: Please use the 7-point scale to rate conditions from Severely Dry to Severely Wet.


Tell us what kind of land you’re on: Grassland or forest? Water body or desert? Tell us what we’re looking at, using one of the checkboxes or “other.”


Upload photos: You can upload up to 5 photos of up to 10 MB each, if you are the photographer or have permission to share the photo. The classic approach is to take a photo facing in each of the cardinal directions as well as one aiming straight down at the ground. Interesting landscape features or wildlife are also fine to include, but no people, please.


Please be sure to use the description field below for credit and caption information: Who took the photo, what is the location, what is the date, what direction is the camera facing, and what is it showing us? By uploading a photo, you agree that it may be used and shared for educational and management purposes.


Tell us more: Please provide a description or caption that lets us know what to look for.


Contact info: Please provide your name and email in case we need to contact you for more information. We won’t display it.