Sunday, 21 July 2013

Basic scanning walkthrough for finding wormhole entrance and exits

The Foo corps (i.e. more than one) are wormhole based.  We require our members to be able to scan their way out of a paper bag if absolutely necessary. 

Someone I was chatting with ruled themselves out of our corp due to the scanning requirements.  This post is for that player, and countless others like him.  Scanning is no longer hard, if you know how.  This post is not about fancy tricks or special sauce.  This post is about basic, routine, get back to empire space scanning with minimal skills.

I have chosen the 'weakest' of my scanning pilots for this walkthrough, with Astrometrics 2, Astrometrics Rangefinding 1.  This requires 3 hours of training on a brand new pilot.

This pilot has poor skills for scanning, yet will be able to scan his way out of a wormhole.  He will be flying a disposable ship.  The fit is to scan, everything else can be added to suit your tastes.  My real scanners have a real fit, but that is for another post.

Probe (7.5% bonus to scanning)
  • Core Probe Launcher 1 with 8 Sister Core Scanning Probes (10% bonus)
  • Prototype Cloaking Device I (for use when in hostile systems)
  • 1MN Afterburner (Not mircowarp drive)
  • 1 Damage Control Unit (just because)
Total cost at Jita : 2.5M ISK, most of that for the cloak.  Total ship training time including the cloak : 22 hours, 5M in skill books.  If you forgo the cloak it is 3 hours, 2.5M ISK in training.

Click on any screenshot to get a larger image of it.  I highlight parts of some images with yellow circles (red being a scanning in-game colour).

Launch Probes

You can not be in a POS shield or cloaked.  Warp 100K from something.  I tend to choose 100K from a random customs office.  Launch probes.

Get Safe

While scanning, I don't have the mental resources to also be hitting dscan.  'They' might see where you launched your probes.  Warp back to POS shields (if you have them) or 100K from a different object and cloak, and point double click somewhere in space away from anything to have your spaceship slowly moving.  This will make it hard (some would say nearly impossible) to find you.

Choose system view :  

You will want to chose the system view, either from the scanner window itself, or F10.

Default Scan

The default scanner shows you roughly where the signatures are as red spheres.  This post is about scanning for wormholes, so we will turn off anomalies. 

Look at the default scan.  (Almost?) All  signatures will be within 4AU of a planet.  What outer planets have spheres near them?  Don't worry too much about identifying which inner most planets have signatures, as they are all so close together anyway.

Today we have 6 signatures; Planets 6-8 we will scan individually; planets 1-5 we will do as a a group.

Chose your view.

First we want to be looking down at the system.
Hold your left mouse button and move your mouse 'up' will give you a top view.
Mouse scroll wheels zoom in and out. (can be given a keyboard shortcut)
Double clicking on anything centres your screen on that object.
Hold right click and move your mouse to manually centre on anything.

Centre on a planet.

I start on the outer most planets.
Click on the launch pinpoint formation.

Move the probe by clicking on it; dragging it to centre over the planet.

Double click on the probe and scroll in, adjusting so you are over the centre of the planet.  (I went back to a scroll wheel mouse primarily for Eve and scanning.)

Adjust your view so you are now side on, zoom in, and adjust your probe again.
View adjusted, now you need to move the probe down a little.
Swap back to top view just to check, and if necessary adjust one more time.
Then click the Analyze button.

Hopefully resulting in a red 'dot'

Scan down that red dot

First the top, then the side we repeat the above steps but this time around our red dot instead of around our planet.

Change your distance down by 1 step

I select all 8 probes from the list, right click and change the step down to 2 AU.

Bring your probes closer together

While holding the alt key down, drag on one of the arrows.  I drag the probes in until the selected probe is just overlapped by 2 extra probe spheres.

And scan again.

I have found a gas site; not what I am looking for; so right click on the signature and 'Ignore Result'.

Next Planet

This is a repeat of our last planet, but this time on planet 7.  We know that planet 7 had a signature from our default scan.
  • Launch pinpoint formation.
  • Centre on the planet, both from on top and the side. Scan.
  • Centre on the resulting Red dot, 
    • Align probe to red dot from top and side, 
    • Reduce range 1 step.
    • Reduce the space between probes
    • Scan.
  • Repeat this until we, unfortunately, find yet another gas site, so we ignore this result too.

Next Planet, again.

This is a repeat of above, but this time we learn we have a wormhole.
The yellow inverted arrow scanning is the same method as the red dot scanning above.

Got it at 1 AU.  Woo hoo.  I often resolve them at 0.5AU, and sometimes need to resolve at 0.25AU.  Save a bookmark, (right click) but do not warp there yet.

When saving the bookmark, note what you are saving.  Some use the signature only, others will include what planet or even the date (to make it easier to find from the main screen's context menu).  I simply use the signature name.

Scan the inner planets

The inner planets are within 4AU of each other, no point in scanning each planet individually.

For this scan .... 'Oops', I did not centre the probes on the main part of the screen, and got a circle instead of a point.  (Normally I can get a circle result without trying)

A 'point' means that 3 probes can see it.
A 'circle' means that 2 probes can see it.
A 'sphere' (like you get on your initial scan) means that 1 probe can see it.

All is not lost, I also got a gas signature from this scan, so will ignore it.

Generally, I target the strongest incomplete signature each time, but for the sake of the exercise will target the circle instead.

For the Circle (and sphere), centre your probes in the middle of it.  Do not reduce your range, and possibly consider even expanding it by one.  I note that for this scan, my probes cover the circle of where the probe will be.  I will keep the same range, and scan.  Again, I used top and side to work out where to centre my probes.

Oh, its another gas signature (I get a lot of those), ignore it.

Repeat scanning based off the sun until the inner planets are complete

This is just a rinse and repeat of scanning around the sun, until all of the inner planet signatures are located or discarded.  All my remaining signatures proved to be gas planets.  Even though I was in a C1, there may have been more wormholes.  The most I have found in our C1 was 4 wormholes.

Final spread formation 

Finally do a  spread formation to check for any recent (or missed) signatures.  You may need to do this 2 or 3 times centred on different planets if you have an exceptionally large system.

Other notes

  • If you miss a signature, expand your radius by one step and try again.
  • Some sites are inherently harder to scan than others. Try 3 times before moving onto the next signature.
  • When you recall probes, any (cloaked) hunters will be vigilant, expecting you to go where the probes last were; do not simply recall probes and immediately warp to where you last scanned.  'Stretch your legs' first.
  • The first bookmark you get from scanning is 'near enough', and may be 10K out from the actual location.   This gives hunters an opportunity.  Initially warp 50K to the bookmark, and grab an actual bookmark.  Go away somewhere else, then warp back to your second, more accurate bookmark.

Scanning no longer is hard.

Early in my scanning career, I was stuck relying on a backup scanning pilot, in a newbie ship, with basic scanners.  I could still scan my way, but it did take over an hour to do the system.

I re-did the missed 5 signatures, in 14 minutes.  I am not a good scanner, nor did I have a good ship or skills.  The 5 signatures were fairly easy (all gas), but 3 minutes/signature is a reasonable time for scanning newbies to aim for.

As your skills and equipment improve (both player and pilot), you save additional time (for example by doing things like jump 2 steps - 4AU directly to 1AU).

Scanning your way into or out of a wormhole system is within any pilot's reach.

For an alternative approach to scanning, from a 'hunters' perspective, read

Edit 28 Aug 2013 : Correction to the highlight on the pinpoint image


  1. I'm mostly happy these days scanning isn't as taxing as it use to be, though of course like anything there's positives and negatives that come with any change.

    This is a nice clear guide for those new or seeking to re-fresh basic scanning knowledge.

    Well done.

  2. Thanks! Nice tutorial. Pictures help as well.

  3. Nice work on the guide.


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