I don't care for the quest compass idea, but I do expect a compass. My character will know if hes going south, north, west, east or some other direction. Sure, it might be easy to denote if up is always north, but I would like to have some idea of how large the world is around me, and how far things are from each other. Wasteland really had no problem with this, as it was all on a grid. If the new wasteland has a grid, then maybe its no problem at all.
With that in mind, be careful of putting the players in a situation where they are combing the desert ala spaceballs. The last thing I want to do is have to look in every single grid hex/square to find an item. The original wasteland handled this with perception, and I don't see a reason to change this. Just make it possible to notice things from multiple hexes/squares away. If its a car, I should be able to see it from a a good distance away if I'm in the plains. I shouldn't have to be in its exact square to notice it. In a forest, its obviously harder. If its a watch, I should be able to notice it from a distance as well, especially if its made of metal and glass and light is available.
An interactive map where you can annotate locations and events would be extremely useful. Numbers on the map associate with journal entries. I don't want to have to remember that the junkyard dog I made friends with last week within the game is in a specific place a month later in real-time when I can resume playing after I had to abandon it due to real life circumstances. I should be able to look at my map and journal and know where my player is and what he is trying to accomplish.
Sure, keep the fog of war on the map. Let me know only what I have previously experienced. Ultimately, if you hide the location of said dog, and its important to me or the game to find it, two things can happen. 1) I will search the web/community to find out where he is, which may be fruitful, but probably won't be time reasonable, or 2) My character will scrub the world looking for the dog, ultimately making me want to quit the game.