spbal: An R package for spatially balanced master sampling


Robertson, Davies, Gansell et al.


June 1, 2024


Robertson, B., P. Davies, O. Gansell, P. van Dam-Bates, and T. McDonald (2024). “spbal: An R package for spatially balanced master sampling”. In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution.


environmental sampling, master samples, panel designs, sampling software, spatial balance, spatial populations, surveys, inreview


One of the most critical design features for sampling spatial populations is being able to draw spatially balanced samples. A substantial body of literature on sampling methodology has shown that spatially balanced samples can improve the precision of commonly used design-based estimators in various settings. Spatially balanced master samples offer several practical advantages for researchers, including adjusting the sample size to match budgetary constraints, intensifying a previous sample, or defining a panel design for surveying over time. These designs are of practical importance and should be easy to generate with reliable and efficient software. The spbal R package and Shiny app provides flexibility for spatially balanced master sampling applications. Several designs are available to draw master samples from point and areal resources. Stratified samples and panel designs are also possible with spbal. The functionality of spbal is illustrated with several example designs using study regions from New Zealand.