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Maintenance of widely distributed sensor networks becomes a big issue in the future with more cheaper sensor nodes. This paper describes and discusses a method including five maintenance variables for characterization of the state of spatially distributed measurement network. The variables are aimed to describe the reliability of the network for end user and to help making automated maintenance decisions. The descriptive concepts are called availability, accuracy, reliability, estimability and influence. All of these are described in numerical form in a case example concerning a weather station network.