Directional Scanning 102

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This is a depcrecated class syllabus, intended as historical record for the teaching department.

Creating syllabi is no longer our process for new classes, and no classes in the syllabus library are considered current. They are here for historical purposes only, as well as an optional starting point for designing new classes. Please do not assume any of the classes you find here have slides, or have even been taught for many years. If you do use information in a syllabus, ensure that you have brought it up to date with contemporary EVE.

See also: Directional Scanner Guide


Directional Scanner (D-Scan) 102


  • Review the basics
    • What is the Directional Scanner?
    • How do I use it?
    • Capabilities
    • Limitations

Situational Awareness

The d-scan can be used to identify uncloaked ships operating in a 14.35 AU bubble around your ship. By comparing the local window with d-scan it is possible to identify potential threats or find enemy ships. Remember that ships in system do not show up on d-scan for three reasons 1) out of range, 2) docked in a station, 3) cloaked/immune. Sometimes, using the defensive d-scan techniques will not be sufficient to maintain situational awareness. You might need to use techniques from the Offensive d-scan section in order to evaluate the threat.

Defensive D-Scan

Spam D-Scan

(Note that there is a "Refresh Directional Scan" hotkey. It will open the scanner if it is not up, and refresh the scan otherwise. The key is unassigned by default. You have to go to "Shortcuts/Combat" in the Settings and assign a key.)

  • 360’ max range, scan at least every 10 seconds
    • Especially useful in low traffic systems with which you are very familiar: such as out-of-the-way mission or mining locations or wormholes. Also good for situations when you can identify a threat by ship type (or when anything on d-scan is a threat), i.e. miners looking for destroyers, transporters looking for tornados, wormhole operators looking for non-fleet ships, cloaked pilots checking for other ships who may be warping to dock or jump.
    • If you wish to sort d-scan information click on the header of the column you want to sort on.
    • To share d-scan info with an FC: scan, left click, ctrl+a, ctrl+c, then switch to and ctrl+v. You can share the link with an FC.

PRACTICAL: Everyone warps to a planet and sits on grid. Instructor tells the students to look for his/her ship (or core/combat scanner probes) on d-scan and warp away before the instructor lands. This is to practice individual situation awareness

PRACTICAL: Same as above, except that the Fleet commander tells everyone to align to a location and then he/she warps out the fleet. This is to practice fleet/gang situational awareness.


  • Adjust the range of your d-scan to identify when ships get close.
    • If you are in a system with lots of other pilots and ships, then spamming the scan button will most likely not be enough to identify potential threats. In populated systems you will probably see lots of ships and/or probes on d-scan. Adjusting the range of your d-scan can give you valuable information about who may be warping to your location,
    • Move the range slider to the left or manually set range to approximately 1 AU.
      • 2,147,000,000 km = apx. 14.35 AU
      • 1,147,000,000 km = apx. 7 AU
      • 147,000,000 km = apx 1 AU

PRACTICAL: Quickly change ranges to identify incoming ships. Instructor should bounce away from the group and make several warps within d-scan range. Some runs the instructor should keep well away from the students, others the instructor should be on grid or within 1 AU.

PRACTICAL: How much time does 14.35, 7, and 1 AU notice give you?

  • Have the students set their d-scan to one of these ranges.
  • Instructor should use an Interceptor or Covops to demonstrate how much time it takes to cover the distance, decelerate, and target the ship. Time from d-scan range to start of targetting should range from 23 - 17 seconds. Point out that even though Covops and Interceptors warp faster than any other ship, the majority of warp time occurs in the deceleration. Even if you see the target at 1 AU range, you can have more than 17 second to align and warp out.
  • This time reference should give players an idea of the distance they should set their d-scan range in order to be able to align and warp out in time.

Limit the angle of your scan

  • In some cases it may be useful to narrow the angle of your d-scan and point it at the possible threat.
    • Missions/incursions – point d-scan down the gate before jumping in.
    • Null sec/wormhole space – check gates/stations for warp disruption bubbles.
    • Low-sec – check gates for gate camps.

Create a friend/foe list

  • In some situations you may need to take notes about who is/isn’t a threat. Reference this list against d-scan results.
    • Wormholes: Write down the names/types of the ships in your fleet in a note. Have the note open while in the wormhole. When a ship you don’t recognize pops up on d-scan you can quickly check to see if it is with the fleet. Helps prevent panic.
    • Scouting: Most pilots don’t change the name of their ship. As you associate players and ships, create a note. This will make identifying targets/potential threats easier.

Being Stalked

If you have determined that another pilot is stalking you, what can you do to throw off your opponent?

  • Rename your ship! Unless your enemy is paying close attention to Local, you may be able to throw him off just by changing your name. Change ship name every couple of jumps.
  • If you identify another player in system with your same ship type, rename your ship to match. This will make it difficult for your opponent to identify which ship is yours. Just make sure you don’t rename your ship to your opponent’s ship.
  • If you end up scouting a wormhole with a large active Corp who uses Unicode characters, rename your ship to match. Left click a dscan result, ctrl+c, then ctrl+v in a note. Select the unique character and copy/paste it to your name.
  • This type of deception can be countered by taking good notes.

Play chicken with the POS

If in low/null or wormhole space then you can use the directional scanner to determine what moons do/do not have a POS. This can give you a location your opponent may not think to look. This is somewhat risky, as you may forget to change your overview settings, or you may not remember which moon you scanned.

PRACTICAL: Can d-scan fool you?

  • Before class, Instructor should abandon a shuttle in another system and make sure it has the default name. i.e "Aaric Altair's Gallente Shuttle".
  • Tell the class that they are +1 for a fleet and that the instructor is a War Target. Have the class move into the system and identify if the fleet should continue or dock.
  • Instructor should be in a cloaked ship and on grid with the students. Once the students identify and dismiss the shuttle, the instructor should uncloak.
  • Students should come away with the understanding that d-scan does not differentiate between piloted ships and abandoned ships, and that this can be manipulated. This scenario can also be adapted for low sec transportation.

Offensive D-Scan

Ships on dscan will be in one of three states; at celestials, at bookmarks (including mission bookmarks) and in warp between two of these locations. Because finding a target in warp is impractical, we can concern ourselves with finding targets at celestials and at safe spots. Both methods start with a 360°, max-range scan, but choosing where to search first requires a little situational awareness.

  • Knowing a little about the corporations, pilots, and common activities in the system will help you decide. For example, if you know the system is a popular mission hub, you might search stations first then safe spots. If ratting or mining is a common activity you would start at asteroid belts. The target, ship, and system can give you valuable information about how to conduct your search. The in-game map, and external resources like dotlan, eve-who, and eve-kill can help identify which location you start your scan.
  • Generally speaking, It is faster to scan the celestials first. It doesn’t take much time to scan all the celestials, and even if the target is not at a celestial, it can narrow the location to start your more systematic search. If the target is at a celestial then locating the target can be done entirely with the d-scanner and is fast and stealthy.
  • However, if you believe the target is at a safe spot—or you scanned all the celestials without success—then you will need to perform a more systematic search. The scan pattern is longer, and more demanding; and obtaining a warp in with combat probes runs the risk of detection, but if done right, the target probably won’t know that his location has been compromised. Using d-scan with probes will be covered in Combat Probing 101.

Finding Ships

There are two basic techniques; adjusting the angle first and then the distance, and adjusting distance first, and then the angle. Learn to use both. The situation will dictate which method you use, and most of the time you will use a combination of both methods to find ships quickly. Speed is the key metric you are looking to improve.

Click on your own ship and a little box will appear: this box is 5 degrees. Turn on the tactical overlay and open the Map browser; these will help keep you orientated.

Finding Ships: Celestials

Angle First

  • Generally, if you are at the edge of a system, the angle-first method is faster, as there will be limited celestials within range of your d-scanner. This can be done with the map open or closed.
    • Click on your own ship and a little box will appear: this box is 5°. In the scanner window, narrow your angle to 5 degrees (or 15 if the cluster is spread out),hover your mouse over (or click) the celestial to confirm it is within 14.35 AU, then place the selection box of your ship over the celestial and scan. Rotate your camera and repeat until the target is on d-scan.
    • Hover your mouse over (or click) the bracket of the celestial to determine the range.
    • Now adjust the distance of your d-scan to 1 AU under this range. If the target drops from d-scan, then they are most likely at the celestial you scanned. If the target is at a cluster of celestials, you will need to warp to the cluster to continue the search. If the target is still on d-scan, begin to adjust the distance by half until you obtain a range within 1 AU. Check the map to see if anything else sits along this azimuth at that distance.
    • If no other celestial sits along this azimuth at this distance, then the target is either in warp directly to, or away from, your location; or the target is sitting at a mid-warp bookmark. Using bookmarks, it is possible to obtain a warp in on someone else’s mid-warp bookmark.
  • PRACTICAL: Have the students gather at the edge of a system, like on a gate. Instructor should position his/her ship at a celestial near the edge of d-scan range. Have the students practice using the angle first method to find the instructor and warp to his/her location.
  • PRACTICAL: Have the students gather at the edge of a system at a location with a cluster of celestials surrounding it. Instructor should position his/her ship at a nearby celestial (as close as possible). This should highlight the potential challenge of using the angle-first method of finding a target that is very close to your location.

Distance First

  • If you are at the sun and are searching a populated system--or at a planet and are searching the cluster--the distance-first method is often a faster way to narrow down your options. Also good for checking if the target is close or far. Ships that are very close to you will be inherently more difficult to pinpoint the location.
    • Set angle to 360° then scan at max range, adjust distance by half, up or down, until you have a 1 AU range. Now check the map/overview for celestials that sit within this range. Adjust angle to 15° or 5° and scan those celestials until target appears on d-scan.
    • Can usually get range to 1 AU within 5 scans or less with very little editing of the numbers. Narrowing down more than this will usually take 5 or more additional scans. Also, if you are using combat scanner probes, a 0.5 AU RADIUS scan will cover 1 AU of space.
    • If the target is located within 1 AU of your current location (and there are a lot of celestials within 1 AU as well), then start your d-scan range to the distance of the celestial in the cluster that is the furthest away (check map or overview) and narrow down to an appropriate range. Once an appropriate range has been established (try not to use more than 5 scans), determine which celestials fall within this range and adjust the angle to scan those celestials. If you are scanning in low- or null-sec, then you may be able to temporarily ignore the moons and check asteroid belts/stations first.
  • PRACTICAL: Have the students warp to the sun. Instructor warps to a celestial within d-scan range, preferably one that has a unique distance from the sun. Students will then use the distance-first method to find the instructor and warp to his/her location.
  • PRACTICAL: Have the students warp to a planet with a cluster of celestials. Have the students use the distance first method to identify your location. Instructor can vary the scenario to reflect wormhole, high-, low-, and null-sec space.
  • ADVANCED PRACTICALS: Now repeat the two previous practical exercises, but let the students choose which technique to use first. After 2 - 5 minutes, move to a different celestial and have the students use the second technique. Let the students discuss which method was faster in each situation.

Finding Ships: Bookmarks

Finding ships at bookmarks is much more time intensive, and usually requires combat scanner probes in connection with the d-scanner. This topic is more appropriate to a Combat Probing class, however, the basic d-scan techniques will be taught here for reference.

If the target is at a bookmark it is possible to narrow down their position by using the map and some reasoning.

  • Bookmarks can be created 4 basic ways
    • Warping between celestials and dropping bookmarks, then using those bookmarks to create others
    • Slow boating away from a celestial/bookmark
    • Using NPC bookmarks (mission sites)
    • Using incursion sites (currently the best source for safe spots and deep safe spots)
  • Unless the target runs missions out of that system, or follows incursions, most bookmarks they use are created using celestials. In most systems, this means that there is a limited amount of space that can have bookmarks. Some systems will simply not have a good spread of celestials to use in the creation of bookmarks. By looking at the map, and identifying areas of space that won’t have normal bookmarks, it is possible to “narrow down” your search pattern.

Angle First

This technique is best if the target is not moving, as getting the general direction of the target allows you to deploy probes on target faster. It is generally worth the time to first establish if the target is located at a bookmark within 1-2 AU of your location. If the target is located at this range, it is usually faster to drop probes.

  • Set angle to 180° and pick one of the lines formed by the number labels on which to center your camera. Scan, make note of the results, rotate camera 180 degrees and scan again. This will narrow down your search to ½ of a sphere. Face your camera towards the direction the target was observed and then point the camera straight up and scan. Note if the target is still on d-scan. Then face the camera straight down and scan. Note if the target is still on d-scan. This will determine if the target is above, planer or below your location (If the target appears on d-scan both times then he or she is sitting somewhere on the same plane as you. This is because the camera will not look directly up or down, and results in 10 – 20 degrees of overlap at the solar plane).
  • Keep the angle at 180 and reset the camera position to either the first or second scan position (whichever position the target showed up on d-scan.) Now rotate the camera 75° - 80° to the right and scan (the camera should not be facing directly down the line of numbers). Note if the target is still on d-scan. Return the camera to the original position and then rotate the camera 75 - 80° to the left. Note if the target is still on d-scan. This will determine if the target is right, center, or left of your location (if the target appears on d-scan both times then it is sitting somewhere within 20° directly in front of you. This is because we created overlap at the center position by rotating our half-sphere scan less than 90 degrees.) We now know the general direction of the target. Using this method should allow you to identify the location of the target to within 1/8 of the sphere or better
  • Set the angle to 90 degrees (or less if you were able to identify a smaller area) and center camera on the general direction of the target. If you are using a monitor with 1920 x 1080 resolution, then your field of view (left and right) is approximately 100° and 75° (up and down); a 90° scan will search most of what you can see plus a little extra up and down. If the target is on d-scan then proceed, if not, then adjust the camera slightly up, down, left, and right and scan each time. Make note of which scans saw the target as this will narrow down the location.
  • Set the angle to 60°. Four 60° scans arranged in a cross will cover the original 90° scan area. Make sure there is at least a 10° overlap in the search pattern, as you can use the same procedure used during the 180° search to narrow down the location of the target ship even more.
  • Continue narrowing angle until target shows up on a 15 or 5° scan. Now adjust the distance by half until you find the range within 1 AU
    • If you reach a point where you cannot narrow down the result any further, i.e. if the ship shows up at 30° but not at 15°, check to see if the target is sitting within 1-2 AUs of your position. Ships that are very close to you will be inherently more difficult to pinpoint.

Distance First

  • Use the distance first method if your target is changing location frequently; you are much more likely to identify when the target changes location if your distance is set to within 1 AU of their location. This can save you frustration and time.
  • First determine the distance using the technique discussed in Celestials section. Then adjust the angle using the techniques from the Bookmarks section.

PRACTICAL: Instructor should warp to a bookmark and have the students try to scan down the location within 15° and 1 AU.

Putting it into practice

PRACTICAL: Instructor should tell the students to identify if he/she is located at a celestial or bookmark. Instructor then gives students 2 minutes to identify if the instructor is located at a celestial or bookmark. Instructor should mix near and far scenarios in both categories while mixing up from where the students start. Ex. Sun, edge of system, at cluster, etc.

PRACTICAL: Instructor should now warp to a random celestial and have the class chase him/her down. Do this several times, varying the difficulty and scenarios. Limit each attempt to 5 minutes to avoid frustration.

PRACTICAL: If time is available, jump to a celestial and have the students attempt to find and follow. Instructor should bounce between celestials at least every 60s, more if students begin to scan quickly. Highlight how difficult tracking another ship can be, and discuss why speed is the most important scanning skill to master.

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