Cargo scanning can be done with a Cargo Scanner module and will reveal the cargo content of containers, ships and structures.
Cargo scanning mechanics
The cargo scanner is an active module fitted to your ship in a Medium Power Slot (commonly referred to as a mid slot). It requires you to establish a lock onto your target before activating the module. While the scan is progressing your ship will show a scanning animation, then after a few seconds the scan will finish and the result will be presented in a Cargo Scan Result window. The window will show the name of the player who's ship you scanned, or the name of the container or structure, then it will show you a plain list of items in the "container".
|Using a Passive Targeter can allow you to lock up an unsuspected capsuleer's ship without them noticing. This will then allow you to sneak in a cargo scan that in most cases will go completely unnoticed by the victim due to the very subtle scanning animation that won't really be visible to the naked eye if the target is zoomed out.|
While a cargo scanner will show you most items, there are certain things it won't show. Mostly it has to do with layers of multiple containers, where the game is only able to look through some containers and not others, but here's a list of items that can and cannot be seen in a cargo scan:
It will show the content of cargo holds as well as all special bays, holds and hangars.
It will show the content of courier contracts placed in a the cargo hold or fleet hangar.
It will show the content of containers in cargo holds as well as fleet hangars.
It will not show containers or courier packages themselves just what they contain.
It will not show the cargo in or modules fitted to a ship carried by the targetted ship.
It will not show the content of a courier contract but instead just "plastic wrap" if the package was wrapped inside another courier contract.
This means that if you cargo scan an Orca or a Bowhead carrying other ships, you will only be able to see the ships themselves but not what they carry (limited to charges) and the modules and rigs that are fitted to the ships. The value estimate will be limited to only the hull itself. It also means that couriers who put their courier package inside another courier contract (commonly referred to as "double wrapping") will be able to hide the content of the courier package, but at the same time announce to potential gankers that you're trying to hide something.
The time it takes to finish the cargo scan is influenced by the Survey skill however, so you can reduce the time it takes to finish the scan. At max skills the activation time can be lowered by 25% which reduces the base 3 second activation time to a 2.25 second activation time for a tech two cargo scanner and the 3.5 second activation time of a meta module to 2.62 seconds.
Technically the module requires CPU Management to be trained to I or II, but since that requirement is below the starting level each capsuleer gets for free it practically has no skill requirement to use.
Ships immune to cargo scanning
Some ships like Blockade Runners are immune to cargo scanners. If you try to scan them the module will simply fail to activate.
Common usage of cargo scanners
Here are a few common uses for cargo scanning:
- Scanning down haulers to see if they are worth ganking.
- Scanning cans in relic and data sites to save time and avoid undesired loot.
- Scan down NPC ships and structures for potential loot.