Updates to two R packages and our website

Posted 04 February 2020 by Eric Rexstad

The Distance Development software group has been busy

The past six months has seen lots of activity on our part. There has been lots of programming activity to enhance the capabilities of the R package Distance, giving it most of the capabilities of the Distance for Windows software. In addition, a new R package dssd has been developed to perform distance sampling survey design in R.

A brief summary of developments we have made


  • Extensive enhancements to analytical abilities of Distance package
    • function to perform unit conversion
      • specify units of measure for effort and detection distances
      • function computes correct conversion factor to provide to convert.units argument in ds
    • bootstrap variance estimates
    • several types of stratification
      • not only geographic stratification, but also stratification by survey type, by species (in multi-species surveys)
    • multipliers (and their measures of precision) are now available
      • multipliers can now be stratum-specific
    • copious data sets are now included in the package
  • R package for distance sampling survey design
    • package dssd performs the functions of the design engine available in Distance for Windows

Both packages are available on CRAN now.


  • A series of case studies demonstrating the new capabilities of Distance and dssd as well as mrds and dsm.
  • Case studies have been relocated
  • distancesampling.org has been streamlined and links have been checked with dead links pruned
  • Materials from August 2019 St Andrews distance sampling workshops have been posted