I am a PhD student at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, Canada. My advisor is Dr. Kim Davies, and I am studying the health of whales in Atlantic Canada in relation to prey dynamics and human impacts.
This summer, we will be conducting distance sampling of North Atlantic right whales while conducting simultaneous oceanographic sampling (we want to understand the prey field relative to the "field of whales"). In 2019, we had a similar research objective, but we experienced some issues with our analog compasses (there appeared to be some magnetic interference from our research vessel). We are using compasses because we are not necessarily conducting straight-line transects (due to logistics with simultaneous oceanographic sampling, which requires towing equipment into the wind or with/against currents).
I was wondering if anyone recommends a certain compass when conducting distance sampling? Would a digital compass decrease user error and reduce the possibility of magnetic interference from our vessel? Or is it better to use binoculars with built-in compasses? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!