Centring the rotational axis in the system map

6th May 2010 – 5.08 pm

I have a fresh system to scan, hopefully there will be more prey than hunters today. I find our home system's static wormhole easily enough, but I also find a second wormhole. Maybe the system isn't quite as fresh as I had assumed. Warping to this second wormhole reveals the K162 to be stable, making it a good idea to jump through first to determine any possible threat before heading away from our system. As I try to jump I am informed that the exit is stabilising, which indicates that there is no one present in the other system. At least I can have a poke around in relative safety.

The system leading in to our own is only a class 4 w-space system, not particularly dangerous in itself, but there are two towers visible on the directional scanner. I find them both and am tickled to see that they are owned by a corporation with an NRDS policy. That should keep us safe, as long as I don't get up to any antics. Even though I came backwards through their static wormhole I scan the system, as there could be some sites to clear or sit in ambush. I find another wormhole, almost on top of the first, but this K162 is reaching the end of its natural life so I leave it alone. After finding only anomalies and ladar sites here I head home and onwards through our own static wormhole.

Next door has no towers and no ships, and a bunch of signatures to resolve. I bookmark some sites in case we get a fleet later. As I am not looking for wormholes my progress is slow, but I find one eventually by elimination. It's the system's static wormhole, and jumping through puts me in an unoccupied class 3 system with so many signatures that I focus my efforts on looking for wormholes now. I find a static wormhole near an outer planet, leading to a class 3 system, and a low-sec exit to empire space that is EOL. That looks like all the wormholes, certainly all the obvious ones using my comparison method of scanning, so I jump through to the next C3 system.

A single Badger industrial ship sits in the tower in this system, and no more activity is seen. There are a fair number of anomalies, but only a few signatures in the system. My scanning method gets me a high-sec exit wormhole on my first hit, shortly followed by an EOL K162. I also find something really useful concerning the often clumsy scanning user interface. When resolving signatures the interface needs to be moved around so that the scanning probes are arranged around the desired signature, and as space has three pesky dimensions the interface needs to be rotated frequently to check that the z-axis alignment is correct. However, the rotational centre of the system map can often have a large offset that requires a lot of translational movement to accompany any rotation. It can get quite tedious.

There is also an irritating tendency for the rather cluttered interface to react to unintended selections, such as accidentally selecting a probe when simply trying to rotate the view. Selecting a probe centres that probe on the screen, which is generally not desirable when trying to move the view more specifically. But what I discover is that centring a probe centres it in all three dimensions, which effectively sets the rotational axis. So when I am chasing a signature a few AU off the orbital plane, and find that rotating the view sends the signature flying off the screen, I can now select a probe that has the same approximate z-axis component as the signature and rotate my view with the signature remaining near the centre of the view. It is an end to one of my little scanning frustrations.

Jumping through the high-sec exit only makes me happier, as I find myself in The Citadel region. The system is an old mission base of mine, a local station holding many unused and unsold modules, and I am only a couple of hops from my manufacturing base. It is a bit of a shame that I have drifted away from production, with life in w-space resulting in a lack of reliable routes back to specific systems, but it's nice to visit an old stomping ground. I make a note of the exit system in the bookmark's name and head back in to w-space. Checking on the systems I've mapped out shows no change in activity, and although an intensive refining array is now operational at the tower of our new neighbours, through the K162 in our system, there is no sign of life. I copy the bookmarks I have made and drop them at our tower, ready to take a break for now.

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