I'll be upfront straight away and admit its been a long time since i have done any distance sampling. I was recently approached by an NGO in Costa Rica to create a predictive spatial model for howler monkey electrocution incidents. unfortunately the data they have generated are somewhat unsuitable for the task however the more i look at the observations the more im wondering if another question can be answered.
The observations (five years of howler monkey fatalities post contact with electrical lines) are uploaded by members of the public to an online survey, however the spatial distribution of observations around the activity centers of a collection of NGO's follows a near perfect distance decay model from human geography studies - as distance increases interactions between individuals decrease. this leads me to believe the observations are spatially biased towards only occurring in areas where the NGOs operate and have the ability to spread knowledge of the platform.
given that both total suitable habitat and total length of electrical lines across the wider area area can be known (plus a number f other geospatial variables), it seems to me that the total number of electric shock incidents per year could be estimated from the data as long as one works on the assumptions that observations can only occur if an observer knows about the online platform, and that any given individual is more likely to be aware of the platform the closer they reside to the activity center of one of the ngos that promote it.
i would be interested to hear other peoples opinions about whether this is a valid case for the use of a point sampling approach to estimate total number of annual incidents. there are 150 observations over a number of years, spatially distributed around the four NGO's activity centers. those activity centers are biased towards coastal areas however i don't believe that would make it any more or less likely that incidents occur there than inland.
any thoughts as to whether this might be a valid use of the data?
many thanks to anyone who can help