Scanning troubles; saving scan formations?

I understand that the best exploration sites are in low-sec or wormholes, but I’m just coming back to the game, and I’d like to practice the new exploration system in high-sec. I’ve been to a dozen or more systems, scanned dozens of signatures, and the only ones I ever scan to 100% are wormholes and combat sites. In fact I’ve found only one data site (and no relic or gas sites) in hours of trying. That one I got to 40% and then it poofed. (Maybe another player looted it?) Yes, I’ve done the intro exploration missions; those were easy.

What am I doing wrong? I’ve trained most of the scan skills to level 3, and I’m training the long-range scan skill to level 4 now. OK, my equipment isn’t fancy: I’m using the tier 1 probe launcher, and I’m flying a Probe. I know that’s not great, but I figured I should at least be able to find a crappy low-reward data site or something with it.

Also, the probe-scan screen lets me “save” my current probe formation, and I’ve tried to save an ultra-pinpoint formation, but I don’t see how to “load” it. I just have two choices – spread or pinpoint. Is there a way to load the formation I saved?

Many thanks in advance.

Are you, apart from adjusting location, also adjusting the size of your scans?

Also there are rigs and modules for your ship to increase scan strength, to make it easier to scan sites.

I think there’s a way to save formations, but I’ve never used it. The pinpoint formation is usually what I need. (You mention an ultrapinpoint formation, I don’t think using 8 completely overlapping probes is helpful, just so you know. There needs to be a range difference).

Try looking up some scanning tutorial videos, it can explain easier than words.

@Gerard_Amatin Thank you for your reply – scan size was exactly the issue! I did watch a couple videos that explained how to do it. (Range size slider in the scanner UI, or alt plus mousewheel.) That made all the difference. Tonight I happily scanned down three different data sites, not to mention a few combat sites. It was fun, and I got some nice loot (by my standards).

Thanks for the help! Problem solved. :slight_smile:

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There are a lot of tricks to make scanning quicker and easier, and if you do a lot of exploring you will be scanning a lot!

  • Set hot keys to increase/decrease probe size (I use Shift + > and Shift + <)

  • Signatures will never spawn more than 4 AU from a celestial, so there really is never any reason to size your probes greater than 4 AU

  • Clicking on a signature’s dot in the scanning map will center it in the map

  • Double clicking anywhere in the scanning map will place your view looking straight down or at 90 degrees to the system. Do this then move your probes over the signature that is centered in the map. Double click anywhere and you are now looking at the signature 90 degrees from your previous view. Move the probes over the signature. Hit “B” to scan.

  • If you get 2 dots connected by a line center your probes over the farthest dot from your probes for the next scan

  • If you get a circle around an X, center your probes over the farthest point on the circle away from your probes for the next scan

  • When you can afford them Sisters Scanner Probes will give you an increase in scanning strength thus lessening your scanning time

  • When you start exploring scary space learn to use d-scan to keep alive

  • Have 16 probes in your cargo. When you launch your probes your launcher will automatically reload with the extra probes

There’s a lot more. Keep exploring and flying safe


Thanks for those great tips! I’m really glad to hear I can hotkey probe size, and I didn’t know about the B key either. This game hurts my mousing hand, so any shortcuts are really welcome. Some of the other stuff I’d sort of figured out by trial and error, like the 2 connected dots, the circle, both indicating uncertainty ranges. And yep, I’ve been carrying 16 probes.

And yep, I’m already in the habit of spamming the V key on my D-scanner. I keep it open everywhere I go. But I do have a question about it. If someone is cloaked, my D scan won’t see them until they’re right on me, correct? And in my limited experience in high-sec [EDIT: I meant “low-sec”], a lot of people are cloaked. How does one counter that?

One way might be to invest in cloaking skills and such myself. But I gather I can’t cloak while running my probe scans or using the Data Analyzer. I suppose I shouldn’t derail this thread too far with stuff about cloaking, but it does seem to be part of the exploration game in low-sec, so I’m curious if you have any further thoughts on it.

You can scan and d-scan while cloaked. With a Covert-Ops cloak you can even warp. While cloaked you cannot activate any modules. Cloaks are definitely helpful especially as you start to explore lo-sec, wormholes or even null-sec. And yes you will not be able to d-scan cloaky ships while they are cloaked, but you will be able to see their probes or when they are uncloaked.

As to your original question, I don’t know about saving scans. All I’ve used is the pinpoint scan formation. I wouldn’t worry too much about cloaky people in Hi-sec. More than likely they aren’t going to risk their cloaky ship in a gank. When you get into wormholes and other scary space the best counter to the cloaky ship is situational awareness. Spam d-scan often (The V key), have a safe spot or two to warp to/between. Be ready to GTFO if you see scanner probes on d-scan and run like a screaming child if you see combat scanner probes!

WHs and NS have much better loot. You can easily pay for your ship in one trip. Or multiple ships. I’ve found relic cans worth 50 million ISK or more many times. But you will lose ships to hunter/explorers like me. Keep practicing, and hit me up in-game if you have any other questions

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I have seen signatures a bit farther than 4 AU, especially the level IV and V ones.

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To save the formation, form your bubbles and then hit save. In my experience the best formation is to put all of them on top of each other (using CTRL + drag) and then back them out just a tiny bit. You’ll have to experiment with it.
To load the formation hover over the save formation button and your saved formations will pop up to the top in a little menu where you can select, delete, or change their name.


@Skriven_Penshar Thanks for your further reply. I appreciate the tips on situational awareness! It sounds like I need to invest in some cloaking tech, as I’d like to try this exploration thing (and other stuff) in low-sec or wormhole space.

@Kelon Ahhh, hover over the “save” button! I’ll try that. I did indeed save a formation of probes almost on top of each other. I’ll try loading it.

Thanks to all for the help!

That may be true. Honestly I have never checked the actual distance once I’ve scanned them down. I’ve very rarely set my probes to more than 4 AU, and have read multiple guides stating the same. I could be wrong though. More than likely I am :grinning:

EDIT: After a quick Google search the best I could find is the majority of time most signatures will spawn within 4 AU of a celestial object. One Reddit post noted Covert Research Facility being a possibility to fall outside that rule. I’m going to start keeping an eye out now to see if I find an exception to the rule.

No matter what, starting your initial scan larger than 4 AU will increase your scan deviation which will lead to longer scanning time. With decent skills and scanning bonuses from ship hull and modules you should be able to get most signatures scanned in 2-3 scans (4 AU > 1 AU will get many sigs all the way and others to at least know what type of site it is and whether to spend more time scanning)

Also, there is 1 more useful tip for Alpha scanners. Tbh, it might be known for people or mb not. Mainly, I fly Heron and have 80,9 scan strength. No matter how u try - u cant scan lvl IV signature usual way. But there is a way. When its scanned up to your maximum, f.e - 80-90% and is not going further - do this.
Press shift - ull see all of ur 8 probes. Then, move em all a little closer to the center of the signature, not switching the AU. When moved closer - scan again and u`ll make it. But lvl V is impossible to scan with this probe strength(80,9)

I can’t find this hotkey in the Settings. Which window is it under ? I’d really like to set this hotkey, as I use this all the time and my mouse hand hurts!

Thanks for the tip. I’ve tried that; I’ve even saved a custom formation. I’ve still never scanned down a level IV signature. Like you said, I get to about 88%. I am Omega now, though, and I’m just two days away from training long-range probes IV, so I hope that will help.

I can’t remember and I’m not home at my computer to log into Eve at the moment. I believe it’s under the general setting although I could be wrong about that. I’ll check when I get home tonight.

For some good tips on exploration this has some really good info EVE Online Exploration Guide: Billions and Billions (of ISK) | Top Tier Tactics – Videogame strategy guides, tips, and humor
Also some good information

Especially look at the sections on skills & implants. Getting your racial frigate skill to V will give you a 37.5% increase in probe strength alone. I have Astrometrics, Astrometric Pinpointing & Acquisition at IV and Astrometric Rangefinding at III. I have no problem scanning down any signature. I mostly use Sisters probes in either a standard launcher or a sisters launcher. Most of my scanning is done in an Astero, Stratios or a Loki. Could I scan faster if my skills were better? Yes, but I have other training priorities at the moment. Just saying that you don’t need to have all skills at V to be good at scanning

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Holy cow, that is a great site. I’m still reading through the first section, on ship selection, and I’ve already learned a lot. I’m still flying around in my newbie Probe, having a great time. I’ll check the various skills mentioned. After EVE’s launch, when Exploration was a completely different animal, I did train some of the relevant skills. I don’t remember offhand what my racial frigate skill is, though.

For me, it sounds like aiming for a T2 covert-ops frigate is the immediate goal, as I’ve already invested a fair bit of time in the relevant skills, and I’m not rich enough for the more expensive exploration ships.

@Skriven_Penshar Thanks for checking on that hotkey. I appreciate your taking the time. I’ll take a closer look at the settings again tonight. My eye must be passing over it too quickly. Thanks again.

It’s under the Combat tab. Increase and Decrease Probe Scan Strength. You can add whatever keybinding works for you.

I went the Astero path as it gave me the chance to also be a hunter instead of just the hunted. And when you dive into wormholes you will be the hunted. But the rewards are worth it.
T2 CovOps do have better scan strength than the Astero, but the offensive capabilities of the Astero are pretty nice.
Stick to your probe or another basic explorer ship as your learning. Dive into some wormholes, learn to be safe and use d-scan, learn the hacking game, and gain some experience before spending too much money on T2 ships.

My favorite hotkey I recently found out about is hitting “L” will open a small window of all the bookmarks you have in the current system. That little window is open on my screen always allowing me easy access to warp to a safe or tactical perch without right clicking in space and searching my locations

Thanks for all that great info! I’ll make a probe-size hotkey immediately.

That “L” key sounds great too. Even in high-sec I have created a few safe spots, just so I can hang out while fiddling with overview settings, and I should start practicing using them. Yesterday I could’ve used that L hotkey! I decided to see how my Probe would hold up in a level 1 exploration-combat site I’d scanned down. I had a couple combat probes, what could go wrong? LoL, the Probe’s reputation for having a think skin demonstrated itself pretty fast. I was fumbling around trying to find a warp-to target and kept clicking on structures 12km away, doh. Finally I found a warp gate and made it out with almost no armor left.

Yeah, once I’ve got a bit more practice under my belt, I’m going to try a wormhole and some low-sec exploration, understanding I’ll probably lose a few Probes before I make enough money to buy something better. I don’t really understand how wormhole exploration works, but I’ll watch some videos about it.

Thanks again for all your help!

You need to scan relic and data sites just the same as in Hi-sec, but as old maps used to say at the edge of known existence … “there be dragons”

Safe spots are a must as well as constantly watching d-scan while probing down signatures. In fact a habit of constantly mashing the V key (d-scan) is a must.
DO NOT WARP to any relic or data site without a pirate name (Sansha, Serpentis, Guristas, Angels, Blood Raiders)
Unsecured/Forgotten blah blah relic/data sites are very much secured/not forgotten and they will eat you alive
One decent relic site will buy you many probes
Bookmark your exit

Thanks for the tips on wormholes! And yes, even in high-sec, I often spam that V key.

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