Compasses have been used by a number of characters in Lost, most often for navigation. They are necessary for getting to and from the Island on the correct bearing; however, they do not appear to function correctly on the Island.
On the Island
- Richard Alpert gave Locke his compass, instructing him to give it back to him the next time Locke saw him. ("Because You Left") When Locke time-shifted to 1954, he gave the compass to Richard in order to prove he was from the future. ("Jughead") In 2007, The Man in Black posing as Locke told Richard to give the compass to Locke, thereby creating a time loop. ("Follow the Leader") It is also something of a self-contained paradox, since the compass was never created.
- Sayid created a makeshift compass when he was trying to make sense of Rousseau's maps. ("Hearts and Minds")
- Locke brought at least two compasses with him to Australia. He gave one to Sayid, who came to believe that it was broken because it kept deflecting from true magnetic North. ("Hearts and Minds")
- Michael was also shown using a compass during his journey to find the Others. ("Three Minutes")
- Michael was told by Ben to follow a bearing of 325 on the compass to get to safety. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1")
- Sayid used the compass to lead them on Locke's heading of 305. ("Enter 77")
- Sayid gave a compass to Daniel in order for him to stay on a safe bearing while ferrying people to the freighter. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
- The mirror wheel in the lighthouse resembled a giant compass. ("Lighthouse")
Off the Island
- A brass compass was one of the items Richard Alpert showed to five-year-old John Locke as a test. ("Cabin Fever")
- A compass was shown on the helicopter on the way to and from the Island. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 2")
- A compass formed part of the logo of The Maxwell Group.
In the semi-canon videogame Lost: Via Domus, Elliott Maslow found a compass in the caves with the inscription "Via Domus" next to a skeleton reminiscent of Adam and Eve. ("Via Domus") Elliott used the compass to navigate around the Island, and it eventually led him to the Swan's reactor in the Incident Room. ("Hotel Persephone") He later learned that the compass was placed by the Others for him to find. ("Worth A Thousand Words")