old map 300x240 Foursquare 1.9: Now with MapsMaps and location go hand in hand, but to date, the small iPhone footprint has made it challenging for the fledgeling geosocial companies to effectively use the map as a UI.

That’s not to say that nobody’s tried it.

Companies like Toodalu and Stalqer have used the map UI on the phone for a while now, and Loopt Star recently introduced a neat map view for their check-in screen.

But for whatever the reason, Foursquare and Gowalla have stuck to the activity stream view to show friend location.

That changes today with Foursquare 1.9 for the iPhone.

You can now get a quick glimpse of where everybody in your Foursquare network is, without having to scroll through a news feed.

Here’s a screen shot.

photo31 Foursquare 1.9: Now with Maps

Personally, I prefer the news feed view – maybe because services like Twitter and Facebook have conditioned me to this format – but it’s hard to argue against a geosocial service introducing a map to help you find your friends.

One other update with this version – improved graphical assets to take advantage of the iPhone 4’s retina display.

 Foursquare 1.9: Now with Maps