Not to be confused with Scanning
Every ship has a directional scanner (D-Scan), even a pod. To find the D-Scan tab, click the scanner button (to the left of the capacitor), then click “Directional Scan” tab.
The directional scanner gives you an idea of who is around you. It can tell you the name of the ship and what ship-hull it is, and depending on its distance, it will give you a range as well. NOTE: It does not detect cloaked ships. However, it is an extremely useful tool for figuring out if you are “safe”.
As the name suggests, it can scan in a certain direction only. The angle setting sets the size of the cone around to search. The directional scanner can be set to several different scan angles. 360 is all around you, 180 is to the sides and in front, and 90 is generally in front of you. Setting the range too wide may include unwanted or imprecise results. Setting it too narrow may make it difficult to get a hit on the target.
You can scan once every 0.8 seconds.
Directional scan limitations:
The directional scanner is available on all ships, regardless of type, or modules installed, and can be found as the button below your cargo bay while in flight (Default Key: Ctrl-F11), under the Directional Scan tab. To use the scanner, you need only select a range, an angle, and whether or not to use the overview settings.
The first selection that you make when starting the directional scanner is the range. This is given in KM, and 1AU is 149,598,000km, or about 150,000,000 KM. The max range of the directional scanner is 2,147,483,647km, or about 14.355AU. Whatever distance you select, all results will be within that range at the time of the scan. The range setting determines how far the scan will reach. In most cases you will want this to be set to 2147483647 km (the max range). If you set a longer range, like 9999999999, it will be reduced to the max range.
The second selection is angle, and there are 7 selections you can make: 360, 180, 90, 60, 30, 15, 5 degrees. This is a cone, centred on where your camera is pointing, not where your ship is pointing (This applies to up and down as well as left and right). The direction of the scan is centred on the imaginary line from your camera view through the ship. To target an area of space, put that area of space behind your ship.
There are two ways to check where you are scanning: By looking at your camera (hold down control and centre the little box on the object you want to scan). You can press Alt to make the centrepoint of your ship popup (in the form of a small white square). This, especially at low degree like 5 and 15, is a handy trick to use.
On the Map:
You can also centre the camera by opening your mapbrowser (Default Key: F11). On any setting less than 360 degrees, you will see a green cone emanating from your ship on the minimap of the solar system. As you move your camera around, it will move too.
The last selection is whether or not to use the overview settings. If checked, the directional scanner will only report things that would show up on your overview. If unchecked, it will show everything. As there is no setting for probes in your overview, remember that you cannot see probes if you check the option to use your overview settings, but if you uncheck this option, probes will appear in this list (this soon will change to probes also on the overview). The scanner will return everything it picks up unless “Use active overview settings” is checked. This option makes it filter based on overview filter applied to the active overview tab. If your active tab filters drag bubbles to not show, for example, then neither will the scan pick it up.
The results that are returned from the directional scanner are returned in 3 columns: Name, Type, Range.
The directional scanner only gives you ship/item type and name, not player names, so intel is useful in terms of knowing what ships to look for whilst hunting. The name and type fields are always returned, and as you might expect, contain the name and type of the specific result. It should be noted that while the name field can be made to look like anything, the type field *never* lies. If you see an item with the name “Foobar's Shuttle”, but the type is a Raven, that result is a Raven. Range is returned only when an object is on the same grid as you, and is hardly used. However, if you do see a “Foobar's shuttle” and the type is also shuttle, you now have succesfully managed to bind a ship to a player in local. Important intel to have. If you ever see someone in your fleet who has not renamed his ship, make sure to tell him to rename it (bonus points if its the FC). Always make sure to rename your ship.
It can help to determine the distance to a target. You can set it to scan at a certain distance, up to a large number of kilometers (equal to ~14.36 AU). By gradually decreasing the range, you can get a quick rough estimate as to where your target is. The target will disappear from the scan results when your range is shorter than the target's distance.
Note: the directional scanner will not list the range to an off-grid target, but you can still find it by varying the scan distance to find the maximum distance at which the object appears in the results. Unfortunately, it still cannot provide a lock on a place in space to warp to. To do this you need to see the guide on probing.
If in a system filled with un-friendlies, you'd want to try and scan a gate or station before you warp to it. If the gate/station is more than 14AU away, warp to a planet or safe spot that is within 14AU (directional scan the spot first) and try scanning from there. The goal is to look for Interceptors, Interdictors and Heavy Interdictors (as well as deployed warp bubbles in nullsec), if trying to escape.
Also, if you're on the offensive, it can be used to quickly scan belts and planets that are near you to look for un-friendlies in system.
Another usage of the Directional Scanner is to combine it with Scanning.