In irrigation areas, ground water salinity (GWS) levels may vary depending on the amount and quality of irrigation water applied and on the activity of the drainage system. GWS plays a vital role in irrigation systems by influencing whether the environment is suitable for plant growth. Hence, it is necessary to monitor changes in GWS both temporally and spatially. Maps are generally used to visualize this information. However, evaluation of temporal and spatial variations of GWS can be difficult because of the necessity of assessing many maps together to understand both temporal and spatial changes. In this study, a data assessment method that can be used for multi-year ground water salinity evaluations is presented. The method looks at the spatial and temporal relationships between the main salinity classes present in the study area, their typical locations (i.e. areas where the salinity classes are most frequently located), and the alternate salinity classes in those locations in any of the years of the time series. As a case study, the method was applied to multi-year (1990-2000) GWS observations in the Mustafakemalpasa irrigation project (19370 ha) in the Marmara region of north-western Turkey. Copyright (C) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.