Thanks to nat at O’Reilly Radar, I’ve been made aware of a “Google Maps” for Australia, that’s not been done by Google. And it is, perhaps literally, the best website I’ve ever seen.

I have been complaining bitterly about the state of Australia’s online street directories. Both street-directory.com.au and whereis.com.au (by Sensis, that Telstra spin-off) have ugly ugly maps with static views, and which you must buy links to specific locations.

But now, bliss, there’s zoomin.com.au. These guys deserve the link. Where to start? The website is elegant and well-designed (compare to either of the aforementioned sites of the competition). The search field has suggestions à la Google Suggest. Other pieces of Ajax-y goodness are superb.

Locations can be assigned comments and photographs. (Unfortunately, the latter seems to crash Safari; the latest OmniWeb doesn’t but sits there forever trying to do something. FireFox works great, of course.) See the link in the next paragraph for an example of this.

Finally, check out their URL system. Let’s say I want to find Chocolate Bean at 14 Union St, Adelaide. The URL to that location is http://zoomin.com.au/australia/sa/adelaide/adelaide/union+street/14/. Can you believe it?

Only one suggestion: they need a favicon. Oh, and a way to make money. I sure hope they’ve got this sorted out.