Workshop 2: Advanced Techniques and Recent Developments in Distance Sampling

Mary Woodcock Kroble
Wednesday 8 January 2014
Start date: 25 August 2014 - End date: 28 August 2014
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

The aim of this workshop is to bring participants up to date with the latest developments in distance sampling methods and software. It is also an opportunity for those actively engaged in the design, analysis and execution of distance sampling surveys to discuss common issues and problems, and set future research directions.


The advanced distance sampling workshop will include advanced treatment of: incorporating covariates in detection function modelling, analyses in which detectability on the transect line is not assumed to be perfect (the so-called g(0) problem) and density surface modelling (also known as spatial modelling). We also devote a day to data analysis using a number of R packages we have developed including:

  • basic line transect analysis
  • advanced topics dealing with intermittent animal availability
  • density gradients in the vicinity of the transect and
  • simulation of different sampling designs and violation of modelling assumptions to examine relative performance of distance sampling estimators under varying conditions

The workshop will be a combination of lectures and computer sessions, with considerable time for discussion.

The workshop will begin at 09:00 on Monday 25th, with registration at CREEM from 08:30 and will finish at lunch time on Thursday, 28th.

Intended participants

The workshop is intended for scientists who already have  experience with distance sampling methods. We anticipate a mix of biologists  and applied statisticians. To gain maximum benefit from the workshop, biologists  and ecologists should have some quantitative training, including basic  statistical methods, survey design and “conventional” distance  sampling theory.

We will assume that participants are familiar with PCs running Microsoft  Windows. Participants are welcome bring their own portable computers (see Information for registrants for minimum requirements). Familiarity with the software Distance (version 4 or later) would be an advantage, but is not essential.

We stress that this course is not intended for those starting out  with distance sampling; in this case we recommend attending the three day  workshop held immediately prior to this one. There is almost no overlap in  content between workshops and we anticipate many participants will wish to take  both. If you are in any doubt which of the workshops is more suitable for you,  we urge you to contact the workshop instructors to discuss your requirements.

Materials provided

The following publications and software will be provided to participants at no additional cost.

  • Advanced Distance Sampling. S.T. Buckland, D.R. Anderson, K.P. Burnham, J.L. Laake, D.L. Borchers and L. Thomas. (Editors) Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Lecture notes containing all of the overheads and slides shown during the workshop. This material supplements and extends the distance sampling text book.
  • Distance and R software.