A character who is really good at locating places and objects. This character knows their way around maps and are good at giving directions. If they are part of a Five-Man Band or a Command Roster, expect this character to double as The Smart Guy. This type of character is often found in works with a military or maritime setting. If the setting is magical or Eldritch Location, expect The Navigator to wield a Magic Map or compass. Their ability to navigate and detect might even be due to magic or a superpower in these settings.
Anime and Manga
- Last Exile: Klaus' backseat (navigator and mechanic) in his vanship is his best friend Lavie.
- Melfina is the navigator of the XGP in Outlaw Star by design.
- One Piece: Nami is the navigator of the Straw Hat pirates. She's also good at drawing maps.
- Takeshi/Brock is the navigator in the Pokémon first anime series, usually the one carrying the Town Map. Masato/Max is in charge of using the PokéNavi in Advanced Generation. Serena takes over this role in XY.
- Iggy in Max Ride: First Flight, who despite being blind, is described by Max as "a human compass" because he was genetically engineered with the power to know the exact location of where he is at any given time.
Films — Animation
- Radio on The Brave Little Toaster gives himself the job of navigator, homing in on radio signals to get to the city.
- Milo Thatch guides the team in Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as Milo is the only one who can decipher The Shepherd's Journal that details the route to Atlantis.
- Young Max Goof is appointed "Chief Whichawayer" of the cross-country road tour of the United States by his father in A Goofy Movie. This sets up a Plot Twist when Max misuses this power to divert the tour to Los Angeles.
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: Gylfie recognizes constellations and tells Soren she thinks she could find her way by them. Later the Echidna dubs her the navigator.
- Moana: This is becoming a lost skill in the thousand years since Maui took the Heart of Creation. The seas have become hostile to travelers and since sailing on the open sea has all but disappeared, the skills of navigation, called Wayfinding, have vanished as well. Moana eventually learns that her people were once skilled sailors and navigators, but now Maui is practically the only one left who knows. He (grudgingly at first) teaches Moana, which in turn allows her to lead her people back out to sea, teaching them the ancient art of Wayfinding and other maritime skills.
Films — Live-Action
- David, the titular navigator in Flight of the Navigator.
- On The Hunt for Red October Mr. Kamarov was the Red October's navigator and guided the boat through the infamous Red Route One.
- Twister has Rabbit, the guy who gets the storm chasers to where the twister is. He has a truck full of maps (rolled, not folded) and knows all the shortcuts across the Kansas countryside.
- One of the roles of astromech droids in Star Wars is to calculate hyperspace jumps using coordinates they've stored for the ship they're plugged into.
- Memphis Belle: Lt Phil Lowenthal, navigation officer on the titular B-17, very important in the days before electronic navigation.
- The Finest Hours: Bernie is able to find the Pendleton stern and then find his way back to port, most of it after his compass was lost, just from his knowledge of the currents in the area and figuring where the ocean was taking them.
- Adrift has a young couple getting caught in a hurricane leaving their boat ruined and for off course. Since they are well off the beaten path for both sea and air travel, Tami has to use celestial navigation to get them back to civilization.
- In the Dune universe, Navigators have consumed so much spice that their bodies have deformed and they have to stay in a special tank filled with spice gas. They are able to use a limited form of prescience to safely navigate interstellar space in a starship called a heighliner.
- Kynddelig (or Cynddylig) from Culhwch and Olwen, about whom it is said "as good a guide was he in a land which he had never seen as he was in his own".
- Percy Jackson, because his father is the god of the sea and patron of mariners, knows exactly where he is and is able to navigate perfectly when he's in the ocean.
- Horatio Hornblower in the eponymous series is a dead-on navigator. In Beat to Quarters he sails across the Pacific and makes land exactly at the bay that is his intended destination. His entire crew is amazed at their captain's pin-point accuracy.
- Kushiel's Legacy: Azza, one of Elua's companions, is responsible for teaching navigation.
- Starman Jones thanks to his Photographic Memory. He can navigate by the stars while planetside and has memorized entire books of astrogation tables.
- Eärendil in The Silmarillion. Also his descendant Elendil.
- In Men Against the Sea, the second book of The Bounty Trilogy, Captain Bligh shows that he excels at this. And it saves the asses of the men in the open boat with him, as he gets them across 3600 miles of open ocean to safety in Timor, after they are set adrift by The Mutiny on the Bounty.
Live Action TV
- Once Upon a Time: Killian Jones, aka Captain Hook, was brought along on his brother's ship because he didn't trust anyone else to chart their course on this particular voyage.
- The Amazing Race:
- Season 3: The Duphiney brothers had this as one of their biggest strengths.
- Season 9: The Lararuses, the the only team on the season with any ability to navigate.
- Season 10: Lyn Turk & Karlyn Harris. Their superior navigation skills gave them a needed advantage over the more physically fit teams late in the season.
- Season 12: The father-daughter Hsu team demonstrated this by being able to deftly navigate around the closed roads in Italy, making their way to the Roadblock by back roads.
- "Unfinished Business": Zev Glassenberg & Justin Kanew. Several times they made up huge gaps because of their ability to navigate. Twice they won legs because of this, once when they made up the hour the teams on the first flight had on them in Japan, and then when they went from 5th to 1st in Austria, including passing Flight Time & Big Easy, who were completing the Roadblock right when they showed up.
- As shown in the "A Study in Pink" episode, Sherlock has all the streets of London memorized and can predict a cab's likely path and come up with an intercept course in a matter of seconds.
- The Orville: John LaMarr serves as the Orville's navigation officer, though he can fly almost as well as the helmsman as well.
- The Navy Lark: Sub-lieutenant Phillips is the official navigation officer of HMS Troutbridge, since this is a comedic work he is also the No Sense of Direction and Cloud Cuckoo Lander Officer too.
Mythology & Religion
- The Book of Mormon: Nephi takes this role during the family's voyage across the sea to the promised land.
- Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: Entropy II, the Angel of Fortitude has a excellent sense of place.
- Navigators in Warhammer 40,000 are mutants whose Third Eye lets them see the currents of the warp and guide ships safely.
- Tun Luiec in The Longest Journey is a freelance navigator looking for work in Marcuria. She is also a woman, so no captain wants her aboard his ship until April pulls some strings for her.
- In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, you can assign any one of your mates to the Chief Navigator position, but if this mate has the Celestial Navigation perk, it unlocks the auto-travel function of the game.
- In Mass Effect, Pressly was said to be the Normandy's navigator before he became XO.
- In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush has to convince the talking Shrunken Head of a beheaded navigator, reanimated by voodoo magic, to show him the way through Monkey Island's underground cave system to reach LeChuck's ship.
- One of the skills you can give your character in Sid Meier's Pirates! is "Skill at Navigation" which gives you better sailing stats.
- DSBT InsaniT: Lizzie claims to know the precise geography and layout of any place he has ever been to.
- Michelangelo hilariously enough is the navigator for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). He's not that good at it.
- Kit Cloudkicker in TaleSpin (pictured above) served as Baloo's navigator on the Sea Duck. One episode even had him get a trophy for it.
- The Upsidasium arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle had Rocky steering a giant flying mountain of Upsidasium and navigating using a sextant.
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Monterey Jack is actually a skilled navigator, pointing out constellations to navigate by, leading them at one point to an island he'd been to on one of his adventures, but finding nothing the way he described it. Then it turns out that Fat Cat had been using lightning bugs to make fake constellations and throw off the local shipping. Once that's put a stop to them, Monty is able to lead them to the actual island he was telling them about.
- The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello: Jasper Morello is a navigator and a very good one.
- Christopher Columbus did much of his own navigation, particularly on his first voyage.
- Mary Patten, wife of Joshua Patten, captain of the clipper ship Neptune's Car became the ship's navigator when her husband became ill from exhaustion, due to having to perform his duties as well as the First Mate's, who was in the brig. Only 20 years old, she was able to do it, because she had studied navigation on earlier voyages as a hobby, as well as act as nurse for her husband, from Cape Horn, all the way to San Francisco. And she was pregnant the whole time.
- Fred Noonan was known for pioneering many of Pan Am's routes to China and trained a large number of their navigators. He was eventually chosen to be Amelia Earhart's navigator on her final attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
- Henry the Navigator, one of the first great pioneers of the Age of Discovery, planned many routes for voyages and founded a maritime school, leading to the beginning of the Portuguese Empire.
- This is fairly common when two people embark on long drives to locations they never visited. One of them will take the steering wheel keeping their eye on the road, while the other will be taking the atlas switching their focus between road signs and the maps.
- Required for anyone trying to sail the Baltic Sea, especially the Finnish or Swedish archipelagos. The Baltic is very shallow, and the coastlines are sprinkled with islands, islets, and underwater rocks, making them beautiful but extremely dangerous. It is said that 90% of all world's spar buoys are located in Finland and Sweden.
- A successfully completed navigator's examination, which includes usual nautical calculations and dead reckoning, is a prerequisite for yacht club membership in Finland.
- London black cab drivers have to commit hundreds of routes to memory before they're even allowed to get behind the wheel of a taxi. Not only that, but they also have to memorize landmarks and places of interest, no matter how seemingly mundane, as well. They have to sit a series of exams called "The Knowledge", where an examiner gives them a start and end point and the prospective driver then has to recite the route (calling out stoplights, roundabouts, and street signs along the way) and immediately come up with alternate routes if the examiner decides to throw in unexpected obstacles. Because of this, it takes at least a year for a cab driver to become licensed and the memory centers of some drivers' brains physically enlarge due to the effort.