Three Landsat7 ETM+ images acquired in May, July and August during the 2000 crop growing season were used for field‐based mapping of summer crops in Karacabey, Turkey. First, the classification of each image date was performed on a standard per pixel basis. The results of per pixel classification were integrated with digital agricultural field boundaries and a crop type was determined for each field based on the modal class calculated within the field. The classification accuracy was computed by comparing the reference data, field‐by‐field, to each classified image. The individual crop accuracies were examined on each classified data and those crops whose accuracy exceeds a preset threshold level were determined. A sequential masking classification procedure was then performed using the three image dates, excluding after each classification the class properly classified. The final classified data were analysed on a field basis to assign each field a class label. An immediate update of the database was provided by directly entering the results of the analysis into the database. The sequential masking procedure for field‐based crop mapping improved the overall accuracies of the classifications of the July and August images alone by more than 10%.