Thomas Bros. Maps is best known for the Thomas Guide, the standard by which all street maps are measured. Highly accurate, content rich, easy to use, and visually appealing, Thomas Guides are available as handy, spiral-bound map books for your car or office. As a companion to the Thomas Guide, Thomas Bros. Maps produces Thomas Guide Digital Editions digital versions of the printed guides on CD-ROM for your personal computer.
Rand McNally publishes Thomas Guides for major cities in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, and Nevada, and for the District of Columbia. Each of these map editions uses the distinctive Thomas Bros. Maps Page and Grid system, which makes navigating quick and easy.
And because Rand McNally and Thomas Bros. Maps have more than 80 years of mapmaking experience, you can expect the highest standards in quality and accuracy throughout our entire family of products.
Thomas Bros. Maps
Thomas Bros. Maps: was founded in 1915 in Oakland, California, by cartographer George Coupland Thomas and his two brothers, who developed a distinctive page-by-page grid system of mapping cities that eliminated the need for clumsy folding maps. The maps were bound in a convenient book format that became known as the "Thomas Guide." Since then, Thomas Guides have become the standard street reference for drivers in many West Coast communities as well as for police and fire departments, utilities, realtors, and local governments.
In the early 1940s, Thomas Bros. Maps moved its headquarters south to Los Angeles, California, where new counties were being established and freeways were being built to accommodate the population explosion into the suburbs. Following George Coupland Thomas's death in 1955, his widow, Camille Thomas, selected attorney Warren Wilson and company accountant Tom Tripodes to carry on the founder's tradition for quality and reliability.
In 1980, having outgrown its Los Angeles facility, the company built and moved into its present Orange County headquarters located on Cowan Street in Irvine.
A visionary leader, Wilson realized the important role that computers would play in the future of street mapping. So, in 1986, the company began the process of converting its Thomas Guide production methods from manual cartography to digital computer mapping techniques. The conversion would end up taking 10 years, involving numerous employee training sessions and major upgrades in computer equipment. As part of this process, the company established a network of grid systems encompassing the contiguous United States, thus facilitating its long-term goal of providing service to the nation's major metropolitan areas.
The conversion to highly accurate data also enabled the company to provide a variety of map products tailored to the needs of individual businesses and organizations. Thanks to digital data, Thomas Bros. Maps is able to offer power users such as public utility companies and governmental agencies up to 10-foot spatial accuracy.
In 1997, using its expertise in digital technology, Thomas Bros. Maps expanded to the East Coast with the introduction of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Thomas Guides. In 1998, a guide for Metropolitan Baltimore was also published.
In 1999, Rand McNally & Company, the world's largest commercial map and atlas maker, acquired Thomas Bros. Maps.
Thomas Bros. Maps currently operates as a division of Rand McNally. The Irvine-based division continues to produce more than 75 editions of printed and digital Thomas Guides. Thomas Guides are an integral part of the communities they serve. Delivery and transportation companies, realtors, government agencies, utilities, and other businesses have come to rely on The Thomas Guide to help them perform their jobs well.
The combination of the Rand McNally name and the street-mapping expertise of Thomas Bros. Maps gives the parent company a distinct advantage as it expands into other U.S. markets. For Southern Californians, the familiar Thomas Guide will continue to be updated annually and offer the high standards of quality and digital accuracy for which Thomas Bros. Maps has always been known.