The directory service 192.com has this week launched Maps to go with its online lookup.

Pocket-lint spoke with 192.com's Managing Director Keith Marsden and New Technology Director Dominic Blackburn about their new service.

192.com has a vast searchable database of both people and business information, as well as census information dating back to 1837. They estimate that it is four times the size of the nearest competition.

Rather uniquely, the site, which features a simple, clean interface free of invasive advertising, is growing by word of mouth rather than expensive marketing campaigns.

The new Maps service goes head to head against Multimap, Streetmap, and Google Maps, but its features go beyond what other mapping services currently offer.

"When Google entered the market, we saw that they came in with a good interface", says Blackburn.

But 192.com has chosen a different route for its interface by being based on Flash, which means that it offers more seamless panning and zooming.

There's no delay waiting to zoom in and out of a map, as a slider quickly controls the altitude level from which you view the map.

It's based on Ordinance Survey data, which is the most accurate and up-to-date possible, rather than data from TeleAtlas or Bartholemew, which is popular amongst its competitors.

Because it's based on OS data, it sources great detail, and is able to label every street name. A simple comparison with Google Maps shows that an astounding amount of detail is lacking in Google's compared with 192.com, where every alleyway is clearly noted.

The maps follow the road colouring conventions of the OS, so that if you're used to reading road atlases, referencing 192.com's maps with a road atlas is intuitive.

Like other mapping services, 192.com also incorporates aerial photography for a more accurate view of the lay of the land. However, 192.com beats the competition with its level of detail, sourcing photography at 1 pixel per meter and at 1 pixel per 25 cm in urban areas.

Using Flash as a platform for its maps means that it's easy for 192.com to attract advertisers who want to place overlays giving store or business locations on the map, which is actually very useful to users.

It's possible to see all Ikea locations, for example, when you zoom out and look at the entire UK map. Finding the one closest to where you live is as easy as zooming into your area.

At the moment, you can try out 192.com's maps under "Search All", "Business", and "People".

Pocket-lint.co.uk thinks you'll be impressed.