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Gerardus Mercator, Dutch cartographer

Gerardus Mercator, Dutch cartographer

H413/0249

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Gerardus Mercator. Engraving of the Dutch cartographer and geographer Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594). He was educated at the University of Louvain, Belgium. In 1552, due to religious persecution, he moved to Duisberg, Germany. Here in 1569, he developed a map of the world using a new kind of projection which now bears his name, the Mercator projection. In his projection meridians of longitude were made 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 is considered the founder of modern geography and cartography.

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