In this paper a novel method for the monitoring of disease maps over time in a surveillance setting is described. The approach relies upon the use of a spatial model that is fitted to current spatial data and is smoothed with historical spatial estimates. The method of smoothing is a vector exponentially weighted moving average procedure. A simulation study with a range of scenarios is presented and finally a case study of monitoring infectious disease spread is presented. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.