Scanning & Probing

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Scanning & Probing is a method of finding objects, ships and hidden sites in space. Every ship in Eve has an On-Board System Scanner that can be used to search for objects not found on the Overview. Every ship in Eve with the exception of shuttles and freighters can fit a Scan Probe Launcher module to launch probes. Probes greatly increase both the number of types of objects that can be detected and the range at which they can be scanned.


Scan Equipment

Directional Scanner

Main article: Directional Scanner Guide

The Directional Scanner, or "D-Scanner," is built into every ship and can be used to discover, but not pinpoint, objects up to 14 AU away from your ship. You can do a lot with this little gem.

On-board System Scanner

The on-board scanner can be used to find Cosmic Anomalies, which are combat, ore or ice sites. The combat sites contain rats depending on the site type, lower security space is more likely to find the harder sites (with higher rewards). To find anomalies with your on-board scanner, press ALT+P and ensure the "Show Anomalies" checkbox under the "Filtered" button is checked. This will show all sites within 64AU of your ship immediately at 100%. When you have found an anomaly, warp there or create a bookmark of its position. Once an Anomaly has been completed, it will disappear after some time. (These sites can also be found by probes which will find all sites within range at 100% (warpable) on the first scan even with one probe.)

Scan Equipment Types

You need a Probe Launcher, and some Probes.

Core Scanner Probes cannot find ships, so are primarily useful for finding Cosmic Signatures (exploration sites and wormhole entrances). While they suffice for getting you into (and out of) a wormhole, if you are planning on operating inside W-space it is likely a good idea to be able to probe out ships. Combat Scanner Probes will detect ships, in addition to Cosmic Signatures. The two also have different maximum and minimum scan ranges - see the table below.

Expanded Probe Launchers have much higher CPU fitting requirements than Core Probe Launchers.

Any probe can be used in any launcher with the capacity to load it. Practically, this means an Expanded launcher can launch any probe, and a Core launcher can only launch Core probes. Expanded launchers can also be used to launch moon mining probes.

Sisters faction probes and launchers each increase the probe scan strength by 10%, but are considerably more expensive than the basic versions.


  • Core Probe Launcher
  • Expanded Probe Launcher
  • Core Scanner Probe
  • Combat Scanner Probe


  • Sisters Core Probe Launcher
  • Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher
  • Sisters Core Scanner Probe
  • Sisters Combat Scanner Probe
  • RSS Core Scanner Probe

Scan Bonuses



The deviation is the distance between the scan result shown on the map and the actual location of your target.

The actual deviation cannot be calculated at this time because it is unknown how CCP has factored signal strength into the equation. However, the maximum deviation, the worst case scenario, can be calculated. The stronger your signal strength, the less actual deviation you will have - therefore the deviation of your scan will always be less than the distance shown below. (Knowing your relative signal strength will help you get an idea of how far way that dot might actually be from your target.)

In order to calculate the maximum possible deviation you use the constants provided for the type of probe, the scan size your probes are set to, and your skill level of Astrometric Pinpointing.

Here is the formula:

Max Deviation = (Scan Range/Base Scan Range) × Base Maximum Deviation × (1 − Pinpointing Skill/10)

Below is a table that shows how your pinpointing skill affects the maximum possible deviation of scanner probes. Keep in mind that while Sisters probes and/or launchers have no effect on maximum deviation, they do have an effect on signal strength that will affect the deviation that you see in your scans.

Scan Range Astrometric Pinpointing Skill Level
0 1 2 3 4 5
0.25 AU1 0.125 0.1125 0.100 0.0875 0.075 0.0625
0.5 AU 0.25 0.225 0.2 0.175 0.15 0.125
1 AU 0.5 0.45 0.4 0.35 0.3 0.25
2 AU 1 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5
4 AU 2 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.2 1
8 AU 4 3.6 3.2 2.8 2.4 2
16 AU 8 7.2 6.4 5.6 4.8 4
32 AU 16 14.4 12.8 11.2 9.6 8
64 AU2 32 28.8 25.6 22.4 19.2 16
1 Combat Scanner Probes have a minimum scan range of 0.5 AU.
2 Core Scanner Probes haves a maximum scan range of 32 AU.

Note that as your Astrometric Pinpointing skill increases, the maximum deviation at each increment of the probes' scan range decreases. Referring to the table for an example: if you have no skill in Astrometric Pinpointing, with your probes set to a 4 AU scan range your maximum deviation is as much as 2 AU. Increasing your Astrometric Pinpointing skill to level 4 reduces the maximum scan deviation at that scan range to 1.2 AU.

Another thing to note is that both combat and core scanner probes experience the same maximum deviations at the same scan ranges. The reason is that although the core scanner probe has a base maximum deviation of 0.125 AU and the combat scanner probe has a base maximum deviation of 0.25 AU (implying the core probe is more accurate), the two types of probes have base scan ranges of 0.25 AU and 0.5 AU, respectively. Plugging those numbers into the equation above yields the same maximum deviations at each scan range for both kinds of probe.

Implants and Attribute enhancers

There are numerous Implants that range from almost disposable to exceedingly expensive.

  • Attribute Enhancers occupy slots 1 to 5. Some of these also affect Skills
  • Skill Enhancers occupy slots 6 to 10.

Attribute Enhancing Implants

Secondary Effect Set Name Set Bonus per slot Effect Bonus per slot Total Effect Attributes
1-5 6 (Omega) 1 2 3 4 5
Probe Scan Strength Mid-grade Virtue 10% 25% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 33.83% +3
Low-grade Virtue 2.5% 10% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 20.03% +2

Skill Hardwiring Implants

Slot Name Code Effect Bonus Modifier
6 Poteque 'Prospector' Astrometric Pinpointing AP-6xx Scan deviation 2%, 6%, 10%
7 Poteque 'Prospector' Astrometric Acquisition AQ-7xx Scanning Time 2%, 6%, 10%
8 Poteque 'Prospector' Astrometric Rangefinding AR-8xx Scanning Strength 2%, 6%, 10%

Ship Equipment


  • Gravity Capacitor Upgrade

This rig increases the scan strength of your probes by 10%, which is not subject to the usual stacking penalties. Installing the T1 rig only requires Jury Rigging 1. With the release of small rigs, you can now rig the usual scanning ships very inexpensively.


Each of these is available in a standard and a faction (Sisters of Eve) version. The faction versions give scan strength and cycle time bonuses.

Core Probe Launcher

This module has modest fitting requirements, but can only use core scan probes, not combat or specialty probes.

Expanded Probe Launcher

This module is a pain to fit, due to the high CPU requirements. However, it's the only launcher that can fire combat scanner probes and explorer (moon) probes.

Ship Equipment - Scanning Upgrades

Three different types of mid-slot items are available to help with scanning.

  • Acquisition Arrays reduce the scan time of probes. (Only one can be fitted at a time.)
  • Pinpointing Arrays reduce the scan deviation. (Stacking penalties apply.)
  • Rangefinding Arrays increase the scan strength. (Stacking penalties apply.)


Tech 1 (T1) Frigates

Each race has a T1 frigate with a 7.5% increase to scan strength of probes per level of racial frigate skill trained:

Tech 2 (T2) CovOps

Covops ships get a 10% per level bonus to scanning. Note that you must uncloak to launch scan probes, but you can use them and recover them while remaining cloaked.

T3 Cruisers

Strategic cruisers can be fitted with the Emergent Locus Analyzer subsystem that gives them probing bonuses. If you're in a roaming gang of strategic cruisers, this might be useful -- but note that you can buy about 50 covops ships for the price of one of these.

Sisters of EVE ships

The Sisters of EVE faction frigate and cruiser both have a 37.5% role bonus to scanning and are also able to fit a Covert Ops cloak. They have lower skill requirements than CovOps T2's, but they are insanely expensive compared to other frigates/cruisers.

  • Isis soe.pngAstero Frigate. (CPU is low, making it hard to fit an Expanded Probe Launcher.)
  • Isis soe.pngStratios Cruiser.
  • Isis soe.pngNestor Battleship. Role Bonus: 50% bonus to Core and Combat Scanner Probe strength. Can not fit a Covert Ops cloak.

Scan Results

Once the target's signal strength reaches 25%, the scan result will display one of the following 5 groups. If it is a group that doesn't interest you, it is safe to move on at this point.


Gas sites are harvestable gas clouds. To utilize this type of exploration site, Gas Harvesting is required.


Relic sites contain Archaeology items. To utilize this type of exploration site, Archaeology will be required. More details here.


Data Sites sites contain Hacking items. To utilize this type of exploration site, Hacking will be required. More details here.



Combat sites are locations to kill NPC Rats. To utilize this type of exploration site, combat skills will be required.


Wormholes are portals to and from Wormhole Space (W-Space) and Known Space (K-Space). For further information see Wormholes main article.

Scanning & Probing Techniques and Tricks

What You Cannot Probe Down

  • Wrecks (player or NPC)
  • Cargo containers (jetcans, anchored secure containers, etc.)
  • Corpses (biomass)

Rearranging Probes

Controls for rearranging probes have recently changed in the Odyssey expansion

  • By default all probes will move as one constellation unless you hold SHIFT or ALT which modifies how probes are moved. Holding SHIFT moves a single probe instead of all at once, ALT makes them zoom in or out around their common center, useful for pinpointing those sites which are hard to get 100% on. This allows for some very fast repositioning of probes.
  • The probe-cube can be clicked and dragged. If you grab the top or bottom, they slide on a horizontal plane, if you grab the sides of the cube, they slide on a vertical plane. This is why every so often you grab the cube and it slides away to somewhere weird- you accidentally grabbed the side of the cube instead of the top.

To reset the formation press either of the two preconfigured probe-patterns to reset both scan-range and position. This does not however reset probe constellation position in space.

Probe Placement

Scan Probe Placement (With 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 probes). You can find any site with just 4 probes, assuming you have enough sensor strength. If the site is too weak, you can pile on additional probes and it may work. By default your probe launcher will always try to launch the maximum amount of 8 probes.

Where to Find Sites

Sites only seem to spawn in a sphere 4 AU around celestials (may only be planets). If you are scanning large reaches of empty space, you might find mission sites and abandoned drones, but probably not much else.

Solar System Map

The Solar System Map can be rotated using the Left Mouse Button, and panned using the Right Mouse Button as well. Clicking an object (celestial body, station, probe, etc.) changes the pivot point when rotating with the Left Mouse Button. Hint: Double clicking on the probe cube sets the probe cube to be the rotation pivot point, and re-centers the view to probe cube.

Loading Probes

Carry exactly twice as many probes as you use at a time. When you load your launcher initially, only load the amount of probes you can have active. (For example, if you have 8 probes active, carry 16 but only load 8.) As soon as you've launched your maximum number of probes and are busy placing them, the launcher will automatically load the next stack -- exactly the amount you need for the next system. That way, the launcher will always be ready without you ever having to manually load it. All you have to do is remember to recall them before moving to the next system.

Results, and What They Mean

  • Sphere: The result is somewhere in the sphere. One probe only has a hit and approximate range. You can get multiple probes with independent hits, it can be messy. This is the least accurate hit.
  • Circle: Two probes have approximate distances. More accurate, and likely to yield better hits with more probes.
  • Two Dots: Three probes have distances, which narrows it down to two possible locations. Likely to be more or less accurate, but beware of deviation.
  • One Dot: Four probes can see the result. Once scan strength reaches 100%, the result will be warpable.

Quick and Dirty How-To

(Read Exploration for a more detailed guide with tips and troubleshooting)

  • Look at the system scanner and determine if there are any Cosmic Signatures to be found. (Before Odyssey expansion you had to drop probes and scan before you could determine if a system had any Cosmic Signatures in it.)
  • Drop your probes. Scan, and use the filter to limit your results to what you want to find.
  • Once you get a result, position probes to cover that result. This may be as easy as moving them around a little, or covering a sphere. Either way, keep in mind results from wide scans are very inaccurate sometimes.
  • With luck, you will get "one dot" result. If you get circles, or more spheres, your initial guess was off and you need to reposition and try again. One way to easily cover a sphere-result, is to put 4 probes around the edges at enough range to cover the entire sphere. If this is impractical, overlap the sphere as much as possible and try to narrow it down to a circle-result.
  • Once you get it down to one result, close probes in, bring them to the same plane as the result, drop scan radius, and re-scan.
  • Repeat the process of dropping range, positioning arrows on the result circle, and rescanning until you get your result. If you hit the minimum probe range and still can't get 100%, try repositioning your probes more closely to the signature (holding ALT and sliding the probes closer to the target works wonders). There are some sites that you may not be able to probe -- to get them, try to increase your "probe scan strength". You can use Sisters launcher & probes, rig your ship, buy hardwired scanning implants, and/or train higher levels of the relevant skills.


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