Gerardus Mercator, cartographer

Gerardus Mercator, cartographer

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594). 1868 illustration of the Flemish cartographer, philosopher and mathematician Gerardus Mercator, measuring a globe with a pair of dividers. Mercator, born Gerard de Kremer, is considered the founder of modern cartography. He is best known for his world map of 1569, in which he plotted meridians of longitude as parallel instead of converging at the poles. This allowed navigators to plot their course as a straight line of constant heading, corresponding to a great circle on the globe. He was also the first to use the term Atlas for a collection of maps.

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