Distance Live online workshops

Distance Live online workshop

        • Considering the use of distance sampling for population assessment?
        • Wish to have individual attention learning to analyse distance sampling data sets?
        • Difficult to schedule and finance such training in Scotland?
        • Consider taking the live online version of distance sampling training.


    Training in distance sampling design and analysis has been conducted in St Andrews for the past 25 years. In addition, training materials and video lectures were placed online in 2018 and have been used by >4000 users in the past ~18 months to 2 years.

    We now offer these lectures, discussions and exercises in a new, interactive format, enabling participants to engage in lectures, conduct guided analyses of data sets and ask questions of the instructor.

    Workshop delivery format

    The training workshop will be delivered via the internet using Zoom software that enables participants to use their webcamera to interact with the instructor during lectures and exercises.

    The workshop will be delivered in 10 two-hour sessions. Each session will consist of an interactive lecture, a computing exercise analysing distance sampling data sets and a concluding question and answer session discussing principles and technical details of the session. Sessions will take place weekdays over a two week period. In the first instance, the live sessions will take place in the evening in the UK (1700-1900), corresponding to 1200-1400 on the east coast of the US. Subsequent offerings of the workshop may be scheduled for convenient participation in other time zones around the world. Get in touch for your suggestions of preferred time zones.

When is the workshop happening?

The interactive online training workshop is scheduled for 04-15 May, 2020, 17:00-19:00 UK time.

For information about the next workshop please contact Eric Rexstad, email: er26@st-andrews.ac.uk


In the first instance, the workshop will be based upon analyses using the Distance package in R. All participants will make use of the cloud version of R-Studio. Participants will not need to install R software onto their computers. Instead R, the R-Studio programming environment, necessary packages and data sets will all be available when you access the RStudio Cloud site created for the workshop. You should have some familiarity with the R programming language; however code will be provided for running the 9 exercises in the workshop.

Concepts described

Distance sampling concepts to be discussed include

  • line transects
  • point transects
  • survey design
  • detection function models
    • model selection
  • estimation of uncertainty
    • identifying sources of uncertainty in estimates
  • geographic stratification for variance reduction
  • indirect surveys
    • dung or nest surveys and use of multipliers

Enrolment limit

The number of participants is limited to 15 to faciltiate time for questions and individual assistance with the exercises (via screen share capability of the Zoom software). When the enrolment limit is reached, we will schedule the next training workshop. We envision offering the workshop perhaps 4-5 times during the year; some based upon using R for analysis, others using Distance for Windows for analysis.

Registration and Payment

Please register using the registration form below.

Distance Online Training Workshop, 6th-17th July 2020



Payment should be made using the online store at the University of St Andrews.  Please follow this link to make payment. You will be asked to register if it is your first visit to the store.

When participants have paid their registration fee, further details will be provided regarding

  • scheduling a test Zoom session with the instructor to ensure the internet connection is smooth
  • access to the RStudio cloud site for the training workshop
  • location of the online lecture materials


Please contact:
Eric Rexstad, Organiser and Instructor
Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling
University of St Andrews
The Observatory, Buchanan Gardens
St. Andrews
Scotland KY16 9LZ
Email: er26@st-andrews.ac.uk