The E:D galaxy is full of unknown (grey) systems which players – if they have the right equipment – can explore and then sell data from to a faction when they're docked in a station with the Universal Cartographics service.

  1. I haven't tried exploration myself yet, but when I do explore a system and identify some planets, I take it the (previously identified) astronomical bodies will still be identified for me the next time I visit that system?

  2. What about for other players? If I explore a system and then sell the data to a faction, can other players purchase that data in Universal Cartographics (in the same or a nearby station belonging to that faction)? Of course I'm assuming here that the currently available cartographics data is not only coming from the players but would love to stand corrected!

  3. If I sell the data in a station belonging to the Federation, I'd assume the other factions won't get access to the data. But does selling it to the Federation also help that faction "spread" to that particular system in any way?

And to sum it up in a more general question, will (the tiny part) of the galaxy where new players start eventually be fully explored, effectively pushing explorers deeper and deeper into the Milky Way?

2 Answers 2


I can only definitively answer part (1), and that answer is:

Yes, once you have explored a system you retain that information and it shows on the System Map for you.

I understand from the game forums that the first players to survey a system get more income from doing so than later players - but that later players do get some (presumably this data is confirmation of the earlier surveyors' findings).

I recall from memories of statements by the developers (can't cite, sorry) that in the released game, systems that have been explored and see a lot of player traffic will eventually have space stations built and come under faction control. I don't know whether the faction that players sell the data to has influence on the faction that moves into the system.

  • You should clarify that if you lose the cartographics before you sell them, you also lose the system information.
    – user109166
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 16:18

From my understanding of reading the dev's explanations and from personal experience, your first question at least has a definitive answers.

  1. Exploring a system for yourself (whether it's been explored before or not) will keep that system data in your ship logs. If your ship is destroyed before you can sell that data, you'll lose it and have to scan again. If you sell it first, you'll keep it permanently.
  2. For purchasing, it's my understanding that you can purchase it from the Galaxy screen, provided that data is available. My experience has been that being near to the system in question allows you to purchase its data, but this isn't always the case. For example, a fellow commander recently charted previously unexplored territory, and I was able to purchase data on those systems from the station he sold them to. Cartographics do come from players alone. That's one reason exploration is such a big deal.
  3. This might tie into question 2, as far as who gets access to the cartographics works. My understanding of how faction influence works (from a collection of forum posts that I don't know the source of, sorry) is that it's the performing of missions to decrease rep of the existing factions and increase the rep of any faction friendly to your chosen faction. Eventually, over a great deal of time, the faction may "move in" and claim it. As for the data, that's obviously the first step, but that alone doesn't cause any (noticeable) influence change.

I haven't seen much on this in terms of definitive answers from the devs. What I give you is from my personal experience and that of my co-commander.

And as for exploring the tiny known area of the galaxy, the spawn point actually shifts regularly. My friend started about a week before I did and spawned in a completely different location. The location I was in had a bunch of unexplored systems. Couple that with a majority of new players who won't be aware of the benefits of exploration, and a good section of "starting areas" will remain unexplored until some savvy explorer comes by and scans it all. Then again, the galaxy is quite a big place. Any serious explorer should know that the real money is made by taking journeys of thousands of light-years, into the heart of the unknown.

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