Multiple Contacts on Scanners, Captain
I've been getting into scanning in EVE Online. I have a definite Explorer streak to me, but that's not the only reason. I've read where in addition to hidden complexes with lots of NPC pirates that can be blown up for fun and profit, there are sites that are the keys to advanced technologies, and also wormholes. Lots of stuff that you would never see if you didn't scan for them.
Scanning has turned out to be very engaging, and profitable.
Above shows me positioning my scan probes. I'm using five of them, which is not strictly necessary, but is still handy. The process is I position my scanners around the system, and set their scanning range. The larger the scanning range, the weaker the contacts will be, so this means that there is a process of zeroing in on a signal, known as scanning down.
There's a great video showing the process called "Zen and the Art of Scanning" that's well worth a watch if you're interested. In the shot above, I'm currently trying to scan down the red dot, which you can see (at least if you look at the screen shot in full resolution, has been labeled LFA-335 in the scan window on the lower right).
Ok, once you position your probes, which you launched from a special launcher fitted to your ship, you activate scanning and some nice graphics come up, as seen here:
With reasonably good skills trained, you will get a track on the signal from four probes, which is enough to pin it down to one point. It seems the probes do not have directionality, only distance. And with weak signals, there is a fairly large error in location. So you move the probes closer, reduce the range, and scan again.
Sometimes things don't go well, and you lose the signal, or get it only a few probes, which gives you two dots, a circle or a sphere as the signals location. And this is in 3 dimensional space, so your real-world geometry has some applicability.
Apart from the basic Astrometric skill, which enables the use and manipulation of probes, there are 3 or 4 other skills that may be trained, and they improve such things as accuracy or scanning speed. As always in EVE, whether you train them or not is an interesting choice.
The designers of Eve have taken something which might have been a very simple thing, (Hit the scan button, get results), and turned it into an entire sub-game. I haven't mentioned the fact that there are multiple probe types, some of which are used to track other ships. Scanning can be very important in certain types of PVP ops.
Furthermore, this attention to detail results in powerful verisimilitude. Whenever I do this I feel like I'm Spock leaning over the console, with the green lights across his face from the radar-like screen.
Add to this the fact that I have now been able to find stuff that has resulted in serious financial and technological gain to me and my partners, and you see why I'm totally addicted.