The location compass is a player-centered compass commonly utilized in Grand Theft Auto 1 and Grand Theft Auto 2. Used largely to locate key checkpoints in a map, the display is the predecessor of the radar introduced in Grand Theft Auto III, which improved over the system and integrated the compass' use into the radar. In early GTA games, a radar or in-game map was not included as is often assumed the player would resort to the hard copy of the map provided for directions instead.
The compass consists of one or more arrows around the player, indicating the location of the checkpoints from the player, but not the route to take in order to reach the checkpoint. When the compass includes multiple arrows, different colors are used when necessary.
In GTA2, the use of multiple colors is effective in associating a specific checkpoint with a certain gang which the player may contact for work. When entering a gang territory, the compass will switch to pointing towards available payphones where the player can receive jobs.
The development of GTA III saw the integration of the compass into a new radar, where the checkpoints are now represented as blips or symbols on the edge of the radar (when a distance away from a location) or within the radar (when near a location). This change, together with the transition from a top-down perspective to a fully 3D perspective, marked the end of the location compass in the series.