14

Before I started playing Elite: Dangerous I hit a few newbie guides so I'd get a sense of what to do. This site suggested:

First, you need to find a commodity with Medium to High supply at the station you are docked at. Then you should check your Galactic map to see which Stations in your jump range offer decent prices for that commodity. You can check this by going into your Galaxy Map and heading over to your VIEW tab.

Next, make sure you select the Commodity you are looking for. For this instance, we want to sell H.E. Suits, so we select them in the Technology dropdown. Through this, we can see that a station in the Dahan system is within our jump range, and they will purchase our H.E. Suits for a decent price.

However, I tried doing that and I can't make heads of tails of the lines on the map. I followed the line to what I thought it was telling me was a station that would buy them for a decent price, and ended up at just another station selling them for the price I'd bought them at.

How do I actually read the Galaxy Map's View Tab?

18

If you're trying to sell a specific commodity, the "exported to" system list in the commodities screen of the station services is a good start, but here's what I do to locate better info:

  1. Figure out what economies consume and produce the resource I want to sell. Either via the description,the ED wikia commodities info pages, or this handy spreadsheet
  2. Go to Galaxy Map
  3. Go to the 'view' options.
  4. Set "View by color" to "Economy"
  5. Un-set the economies that don't consume or produce that commodity (so it's easier to see the ones that do).
  6. Enable the "show trade routes" option.
  7. Clear all the trade routes (so nothing is shown)
  8. Enable the one commodity you're interested in.
  9. Buy up some trade data from systems that might need or produce that commodity. Not all systems have trade data available (especially further away), so including producers will increase the odds of finding a trade route for that.
  10. Look at the trade routes for that commodity. They're the brightly colored curved line of the same color as in the trade routes selection, with bright "sparks" traveling along them to show the direction the commodity flows. Make sure to watch for smaller sparks traveling backwards along a route. You want a system that the commodity flows into but doesn't flow out of. If there's a lot of that commodity flowing into a system, it might mean they have very high demand, but it may also mean their market is flooded with it and demand is now low.
  11. Now you should have some candidates. Click on them and go into the system view.
  12. When you're looking at the system, check all of the stations. Look at both the primary and secondary economy of each station to verify that your commodity isn't produced anywhere in that system. Verify that your commodity isn't illegal at that station. See if it's in the list of top 3 imports (or at least similar to one that is), and verify that it isn't an export. Try to verify that the station you want to travel to isn't too distant from the primary star.
  13. Switch to Navigation tab of the galaxy map, pick "Fastest" route option, click the "route to this system" button for the destination (if you intend to grab more cargo, make sure to slide that slider over).
  14. Optional: Do a quick check on the intermediate route systems to make sure my commodity isn't illegal in any of them. I think for that, you only need to check the station closest to the major star, since it will be the one whose faction sets the law for the space around the star that you'll be jumping through. If you're in a poorly armed ship carrying expensive cargo, you may also want to avoid anarchy systems. This is optional, since you can usually jump through intermediate route systems without spending enough time there to get interdicted by authority or pirate ships.

The same basic technique works well for searching for where to buy a specific commodity, such as when you have a mission.

In the example of H.E. Suits, those are imported by pretty much every economy except agriculture (maybe also not service and tourist?), and they're produced in high-tech systems.

Alternately, you can skip all of that, go to Thrudd's Elite Dangerous Trading Tool, an do Search/Commodity/Station Buying and put in your commodity, station, etc and see what price different stations were buying it for in the last couple of days.

Other trade tools:

  • This is really useful information thanks for giving such a comprehensive answer. – Chris B Jan 8 '15 at 15:53
  • This is a great answer. Thanks. I did eventually just settle on using Thrudd's tool, though. The Galaxy Map is too much fiddling. – Sterno Jan 9 '15 at 2:31
3

I've never managed to get reliable results from the Galaxy Map when it comes to trade routes. However, my usual approach is as follows:

  1. Identify the system that I'm going to fly to (usually because I'm heading in that direction, or going there for a mission)
  2. Select it on the Galaxy Map and buy any updated trade data (I'm not actually sure what this does, but it's cheap and can't hurt)
  3. Go to the Commodity Market in change the last column to show what goods are exported to the system that I'm planning to visit.
  4. Scan down the list to see goods that are in High supply where I am, and Exported To the destination. Remember or note down these goods.
  5. Switch the last column back to Galactic Average, and look for which of the goods that I noted down have the greatest gap between their sell price and the Galactic average.
  6. Buy some - trying to get more than one thing if possible to hedge.

This isn't always reliable, but that seems realistic. Note that some systems have stations with different economies (e.g. Agricultural or Refinery) which will import or export different items, so just because a system wants something you can't be sure that the station that you're going to will. You can usually make a sensible guess at this based on the info on station economy on the system map.

  • The updated trade data gets you the export/import info, so that the galaxy map commodity trade route lines show up for that system. Without it, you'll still see any lines connecting your current system to that one (assuming it's nearby), but the additional lines can give you more clues about what's flowing into and out of that system. – Cmdr Freiheit Jan 4 '15 at 21:05

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