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Gerardus Mercator
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    (March 5, 1512-November 2, 1594)
    Born in Rupelmonde, Belgium
    Birth name was Gheert Cremer
    Engraver and cartographer
    Published 'Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descripto ad Usum Navigatium Emendate' ('New and Augmented Description of Earth Corrected for the Use of Navigation')
    Developed the Mercator projection in which latitude and longitude are represented by straight lines
    He was imprisoned for seven months on suspicion of heresy.
    Although he developed Mercator projection for marine navigation, it could not be used for that purpose for two centuries, since there was no way for a ship to accurately determine its longitude.
    A Mercator projection map distorts areas near the poles, so that Greenland appears the same size as Africa, whereas Africa is actually almost 14 times larger.
    As a result, Mercator projection has largely fallen out of favor for world maps.
    He was the first cartographer to use the word 'atlas' for a collection of maps.
    His maps of Europe were praised for their accuracy.
    He produced the first celestial globe based on Copernicus' model of the universe.
    Google Maps still uses Mercator projection.

Credit: C. Fishel

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