Navigating through the R packages for movement
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The advent of miniaturized biologging devices has provided ecologists with unprecedented opportunities to record animal movement across scales, and led to the collection of ever-increasing quantities of tracking data. In parallel, sophisticated tools have been developed to process, visualize and analyse tracking data; however, many of these tools have proliferated in isolation, making it challenging for users to select the most appropriate method for the question in hand. Indeed, within the r software alone, we listed 58 packages created to deal with tracking data or 'tracking packages'. Here, we reviewed and described each tracking package based on a workflow centred around tracking data (i.e. spatio-temporal locations (x, y, t)), broken down into three stages: pre-processing, post-processing and analysis, the latter consisting of data visualization, track description, path reconstruction, behavioural pattern identification, space use characterization, trajectory simulation and others. Supporting documentation is key to render a package accessible for users. Based on a user survey, we reviewed the quality of packages' documentation and identified 11 packages with good or excellent documentation. Links between packages were assessed through a network graph analysis. Although a large group of packages showed some degree of connectivity (either depending on functions or suggesting the use of another tracking package), one third of the packages worked in isolation, reflecting a fragmentation in the r movement-ecology programming community. Finally, we provide recommendations for users when choosing packages, and for developers to maximize the usefulness of their contribution and strengthen the links within the programming community.