No Man’s Sky Navigation Data Guide: Where to Find & What It’s For

NMS Navigation Data is all that stands between you and every Planetary Chart you need!

No Man’s Sky Navigation Data is a vital resource used to find even more valuable items throughout the galaxies. Naturally, though, it’s not the easiest thing to find. No Man’s Sky loves to hide its many trinkets, currencies, materials, and resources throughout a wide variety of places. This means it’s easy to stumble onto Navigation Data by accident. It’s much, much harder to know where you can find it consistently. Especially as the game constantly changes how things work with frequent updates.

Don’t worry too much, though! We’ve got you covered with our No Man’s Sky Navigation Data guide for 2022. Let’s take a look at the best and most consistent place to find the currency best used for Planetary Charts.

Where to Find No Man’s Sky Navigation Data – NMS Guide

Like so much else in No Man’s Sky, you can find Navigation Data from a variety of sources. The easiest method (near the start of the game and without progressing a significant way through the main story) starts with building a Signal Booster.

On a normal save, however, you can’t build a Signal Booster right away. You need to at least continue with the “Awakenings” quest until you repair your starship and build your first base. The game will quickly task you with building a Research Construction Station. At this point, you need to find “Buried Technology Modules” using your Analysis Visor. They’re marked by blue icons with a wi-fi symbol consisting of three arching lines. This is all basic stuff and should be familiar to regular No Man’s Sky players, but we’re including it here for posterity.

Note: When not using a standard save type, such as when playing an Expedition, the method for getting the Signal Booster may be different. For example, No Man’s Sky Expedition #7: Leviathan simply starts the player with a Signal Booster blueprint from the get-go. You may need to consult our other guides during these scenarios.

From the Research Construction Station, using Salvaged Data acquired from the Buried Technology Modules, you can effectively “buy” blueprints for various items. One of these is the Signal Booster. Though you first need to build a Base Teleport Module and a Biofuel Reactor to unlock the Signal Booster node on the tech tree.

Construct the Signal Booster from the base building menu. Just like the Portable Refiner, this can be picked up again and placed wherever you want, even outside of your base. It will simply return to your Exosuit inventory anytime you pick it back up.

Once placed, however, you can use the Signal Booster to “Locate Nearby Structure.” This is a completely free action: no fuel or currency required. The booster will then mark whichever is the closest in-game building that you haven’t previously explored. This can be a wide variety of locations — from crashed Drop Pods to Abandoned Buildings infested by “Monstrosities.” What most of these places have in common, though, is a nearby white pylon.

The white pylons are the thin towers as shown in the screenshot above. You need to hit “Save & Chart” while interacting with them. Saving at each checkpoint will give you one Navigation Data apiece exactly one time. In 2022, this is currently the most consistent way to find Navigation Data in No Man’s Sky. Yet it’s still not a 100 percent guarantee. Some of the Signal Booster structures have no white towers. In which case you just need to try again.

Other Ways to Find Navigation Data in No Man’s Sky – NMS Guide

There are more ways to find No Man’s Sky Navigation Data that rely on pure luck. These include:

  • Buying it from Galactic Trade Terminals
  • Accessing Encrypted Navigation Data
  • Harvesting Ancient Data Structures
  • Opening red cargo containers

Galactic Trade Terminals are the most obvious solution. Sometimes, you’ll just get lucky and find Navigation Data for sale! This changes from system to system and terminal to terminal. You might find it for sale on one Space Station or at one outpost, but not the next. Prices will also fluctuate. Though Galactic Trade Terminal items (including Navigation Data) always use Units: the primary No Man’s Sky currency.

Encrypted Navigation Data can also be found at outposts and on space stations. This looks like a blue, segmented cube sitting on tables in back rooms. If you get lucky and find one, you just need to click on it to gain some Navigation Data. There won’t be any consequences for “stealing” it.

NMS Ancient Data Structure No Mans Sky

Ancient Data Structures also appear as cubes. Though these are actually red in color. They spawn on the ground on planets — like Storm Crystals, Oxygen plants, etc. The downside is that which planets seems entirely random.

Luckily, you can always spot them from a distance. They appear as yellow “star” icons when using your Analysis Visor (also similar to Storm Crystals). If you find yourself looking for Navigation Data in No Man’s Sky, make sure to always pull out your Analysis Visor and look for the yellow star. If the icon reads “Ancient Data Structure,” you know you’ve found what you need. These typically include multiple chunks of Navigation Data — sometimes dozens at a time. Thus this is the best way to get the most Navigation Data in No Man’s Sky. It’s just not entirely consistent.

Last but not least, Navigation Data is an uncommon loot item from red cargo boxes and cannisters throughout the game. These typically hold ammunition, basic resources, etc. Every once in a while, though, you get lucky. There might be some Navigation Data inside! Not to mention the red cannisters — which require an Atlas Pass to open — may also hold Navigation Data. You can get a pass by simply proceeding through the main story of No Man’s Sky.

What’s nice about these red containers is that they often appear next to planetary structures. The very same structures with the white pylons we need to access for our most consistent Navigation Data farming method. In other words, while you search with your Signal Booster to find more structures, always open the red containers. You may luck out and get extra Navigation Data. Maybe even two or three drops.

nms cartographer planetary charts

How to Use Navigation Data in No Man’s Sky – NMS Guide

In No Man’s Sky, Navigation Data has two primary uses. The most important can be found on Space Stations. You just need to take the Navigation Data to any Cartographer NPC. Then use the data to purchase Planetary Charts. For example, the Planetary Chart (Emergency Cartographic Data).

You can find the Cartographer standing beside the Space Station teleporter — not too far from the Galactic Trade Terminal.

Each Planetary Chart is sort of like a supercharged version of your Signal Booster. They’re also consumable. Find them in your inventory, then use them, and they will mark structures on your map somewhere in the system. Different flavors of chart lead to different types of structure. For instance, the Planetary Chart (Alien Artifact Site) can lead to either a Monolith, a Plaque, or a Ruin. This is vital to discovering No Man’s Sky Portals at the moment, since Monoliths are the only thing that can lead players directly to one.

The other use for Navigation Data is calling your starship to landing points. Such as the ones found on Trading Posts.

This isn’t actually a great use for Navigation Data in 2022, however. No Man’s Sky currently allows you to summon your starship just about anywhere by using the Quick Menu. The process will cost you Launch Fuel, but that’s much easier to come by (or make yourself) than Navigation Data in No Man’s Sky.


And that’s that four our guide to finding No Man’s Sky Navigation Data in 2022! We hope it helped you farm the tricky stuff just a bit faster than usual. Best of luck finding even more as you explore!