Aging Angeleno angst: Thomas Guide map book returns

The giant confusing book of maps that every GenX Angeleno remembers is back.

When things got bad enough, as a teen, to take the Thomas Guide out we were already fucked and the night was probably shot.

LA Times:

Despite its huge database, the Thomas Guide stumbled in the digital age, and owner Rand McNally replaced cartographers and cut costs. The guides seemed destined to be lost to nostalgia, yet they didn't disappear.

Only the L.A./Orange County and San Diego/Imperial counties guides are still produced today, but Thomas is expecting good sales.

From his office outside San Antonio, Larry Thomas, now the majority owner of the Thomas Maps brand, said that at one time the Thomas Guide had seven or eight distributors in California alone and printed a Spanish-language edition too.

"Private car owners are a very small part of our business now," he said. "But California state legislation says that every police and fire vehicle must have a Thomas Guide on board. Fire roads often aren't on GPS, and ambulances can't get lost, as every second could be life-saving. They often buy laminated copies too, as they get so beat up."

In a world where you now receive spoken directions into your wireless earbuds, or via your Smart Watch, or your Smart Phone, or your Smart Car, or your e-bike, and maybe on those annoying scooters it seems off that we're still printing big unwieldy books of maps to keep in the trunk of our car.