This guide introduces you to the Directional Scanner and its uses in situational awareness. It does not tell you how to operate the Directional Scanner, as that information has been well-documented elsewhere.
Every ship, even your capsule, has a Directional Scanner (D-Scan) built-in to it. It can be used anytime, anywhere in space without the need for special modules. The purpose of the Directional Scanner is to detect the presence of spacecraft (including drones), structures, and probes up to several AU away. The Directional Scanner can focus its scan area into a narrow beam (useful for offensive scanning) or into a sphere (useful for defensive scanning). A hotkey can be assigned to “spam” Directional Scanning so that the results update in near-real time.
The Directional Scanner should be used at all places at all times, even in Hisec. Get into the habit of always spamming D-Scan whether you are flying solo or in fleet. Every fleet should have one or more dedicated D-Scanners, though ideally everyone would participate in doing so.
Directional Scanning is often used in conjunction with Probing. They both do similar but otherwise different things, and should be used together in parallel to maximize their intended effect.
Defensive Directional Scanning
The objective of Defensive Directional Scanning is to:
- Detect the presence of nearby entities (who would warp in and arrive in a very short amount of time for ambush). These entities might have already been present when you arrived, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.
- Detect the presence of approaching entities (ie. potential hostiles in warping to your current location for ambush). You can tell if an enemy is approaching your location if they appear in the scanning results when they weren’t listed previously, and if their distance to your location decreases with every scan update.
- Detect the presence of Combat Scanning Probes (ie. which might suggest that the enemy is trying to pinpoint your exact location for ambush). Combat Scanner Probes are almost exclusively used for finding potential enemies to ambush.
If these entities appear in the Scan results, it may be advisable to warp out before the enemy arrives and jams your warp drive. In a Fleet, your Commander will tell you how to respond to the approaching threat.
A good Defensive Scanning configuration uses a 360-degree scan radius and a scanning distance of 10AU. This number was no chosen arbitrarily: Not only does that give you advance notice of approaching craft, but if you see a Combat Scanning Probe within 10AU of your location, then you know the enemy knows you are in the area, though they would not have pinpointed your exact location yet for ambush; at this point, you may want to warp out, or at least prepare for an instant warp. If the Scanning Distance is set further than 10AU, then the presence of Combat Scanner Probes may or may not reflect the enemy’s knowledge of your being in the vicinity.
D-Scan Overview Settings
A good D-Scan preset contains at least the following:
- Scanner Probe
- Interdiction Probe
- All 44 Ship types
To create a D-Scan preset:
- Press the Menu button on the Overview Window
- Select the “Tab Presets” tab
- Deselect All, then select all of the items listed in the previous paragraph, and any other you might be interested in
- Hit the “Save” Button, and name it D-Scan
To load the D-Scan Preset into the D-Scanner:
- Open the Directional Scanner
- Click the Filter Drop-Down Box
- Uncheck everything, and Check “D-Scan”
The purpose of Entry/Exit Scanning is to monitor the presence of potential hostiles and interdiction spheres (ie. “warp prevention bubbles”) at potential hostile entry points and escape exit points.
This is accomplished by focusing a narrow beam towards points of interest (typically Stargates). If a ship is detected in that sphere, then either they’ve just entered or are exiting that point. If you see an interdiction sphere, your fleet should not warp to this location unless they believe they can fight their way through.
Note that while an exit might be clear on one side, it may be blockaded on the other. Only spies and recon units can ascertain the safety of jumping a stargate. When escaping enemy ambush, it may be wise to repeatedly warp the fleet to random locations (eg. 100km from planets or asteroid belts) to give enough time for a recon unit to check that a particular exit point is clear (on both sides in the case of stargates).