Who among us has never been hopelessly lost and wishing a guardian angel was nearby to lead us out of the wilderness?

Telemap isn't exactly an angel, but for one woman on a recent business trip, it was second best.

Even though the phone booth she called Telemap from didn't have an address, "we sent her right where she was going," says Dave Licht, 32, director of operations and owner the six-month-old California company that aids wayward wanderers in the United States and Canada. It's done 24 hours a day, by fax, mail or over the phone, in 40 seconds to three minutes.

"We provide left-and-right and east-west nomenclature with rough distances," says Licht, adding, "we're 99.9 percent accurate."

Telemap is able to tell its 2,100 individual subscribers the location of hotels, restaurants, ballparks, racetracks, hospitals, named buildings, parks, cemeteries, golf courses, schools and churches in 60 major metropolitan areas covering 5,500 cities.

The company's six "navigators" answer 32 telephone lines and use IBM 386 computers and computerized street maps and paper maps to assist callers.

The company never tells anyone it can't help them, "because we'll tap hotels and police, ambulance and fire departments. They're the best, {although} they don't always like to give information because they're under pressure with their own jobs. Their attitude is sometimes pretty hostile," notes Licht.

Giving directions can be difficult for Telemap's people when subscribers don't know what direction they're facing. For example, one driver for a bus company that tours the United States called from Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

"We asked, 'Which way are you headed, eastbound or westbound?' " Licht says. "He didn't know. We asked, 'Where's the sun?' 'Behind me,' he answered. We said, 'Okay, you're heading west and you need to turn around.' From then on he had no trouble."

Telemap has many repeat customers. Among them:

Steve Testa, traffic manager for President Container, a manufacturer of corrugated cartons and displays in Moonachie, N.J., who calls Telemap several times a week.

"It seemed curious someone in California would tell me where to go in New Jersey, so I gave them a test and within minutes they faxed me correct directions," Testa says.

Abe Malnik, president of the District-based Universal Appliance Co., which buys new and used appliances, says, "Telemap guides you like a child by the hand."

Ben Smullyan, in real estate in New York, who has called Telemap 15 to 18 times. "I use my time more efficiently. I let them do the work for me and I drive and follow their directions. No car club or oil company or motorcycle clubs provide information instantly over the phone or fax and none covers as broad a spectrum in cities and roads."

There have been some glitches: Edward Ryan, project director of Horizons Technology Inc. in Fairfax, a computer software producer, finds Telemap "a great convenience" and its directions "straightforward" but slightly faulty on one recent occasion:

"Their directions to the Beltway I wouldn't use. I'd travel {Route} 66 and they have me on Lee Highway and from it there's no way to get on the Beltway. If I hadn't been from this area I would have found out too late as I passed over the Beltway. Then I would have had to go on one-half mile and swing back."

Licht's response: "We took him one mile out of his way, which is an error. However, we got him on the Beltway." For more information, write Telemap, 1735 North Broadway, Walnut Creek, Calif. 94596, or call 1-800-843-1000. Individual subscribers and companies with 10 people or fewer pay $24 per user per year. For companies with 11-100 users, it is $20 per user per year.