Welcome to Part 3 of our Elite Dangerous guide for beginners. In part 1 we covered the HUD, and in part 2 we showed you how to outfit your ship and prepare it for the journey ahead. In part 3 we are going to go over Navigation. We will show you how to get from point A to point B and how to make sense of the system and galaxy maps.
There’s a lot to do in Elite Dangerous but it’s fair (and pretty obvious) to say that unless you can navigate your way around a system or indeed the galaxy then you won’t get very far in the game. We’ll take a look at the tools at your disposal to help you find your way through the Elite Dangerous Galaxy and have a look at both the system and galaxy map and take you through the process of traveling from one starport to another that’s in a different system, step by step.
Taking a look at the Navigation panel we can see some of the local locations which can include Nav beacons, planets, stations and other nearby systems. You can scroll through these and if you wish, lock them as a destination by pressing A and selecting it. On the Left you can see your location, your destination (if you have one selected), the filters option allows you to chose what destinations appear in the Location list on the right. At the bottom you can choose to enter the system map, Galaxy map or view the Galactic Powers information (I really wouldn’t worry about this until you’ve found your feet).
The System Map
Shows you the planets, stars, asteroid belts and stations of the current system you are in or have selected. On the left panel, more information will be shown about the object unless it has been Unexplored, which means you will need to scan it (from cockpit get within range and select it using the Y button, the scan will start automatically and information will be added to the map). The information varies on what you’ve selected, asteroids fields show the resources it contains and stations will tell you the goods they import and export, their services, etc.
The Galaxy Map
Shows you the current system that you are located in, as well as the surrounding system. You can look around and zoom in and out in order to highlight and select various systems. It can be fiddly but practice makes perfect. There’s quite a lot of information contained in the galaxy map, such as detailed analysis of systems and trade information. You can plot routes to other systems by selecting them and selecting the Route option. You can also view a system’s map, purchase exploration data and/or acquire trade data.
While navigating the map can be confusing on your first few tries, remember to move the right stick to pan the camera, while the triggers zoom in and out. Pressing X toggles between horizontal and vertical movement on the map (stars and systems aren’t on the same plane, believe it or not!). Pressing Y at any time will return the focus to your ship and current plane.
The Info tab displays information about the system that is currently selected such as Allegiance, Star Type, Economy, etc. The Navigation tab has a function to let you search for systems and calculate routes to that system either by the fastest route (longer but fewer jumps) or by economical routes (shorter but more jumps). The View tab can be setup so that you can filter what information you are looking for specifically. For example, if you want to find what systems are high-tech, you can deselect all the other boxes except economy type, and look for systems that are colored green. If you want to search for systems that have stars ideal for Fuel Scooping, you can filter those too.
To help you to absorb the information, it’s probably easier to show you it all in action so if you want to see it all working, head on to the video below where I try to show you how to put it all into practice by traveling to a starport in another system.
As always feel free to ask if you have any questions about Elite Dangerous and I’m sure we or one of our community will be able to help.