Saturday, August 8, 2009

Why Do We Remember Gerardus Mercator?

Gerhard Kremer

Gerhard Kremer (1512-94) was called Gerardus Mercator, meaning the merchant. He made maps for merchants travelling from one country to another.

In 1569, he made the Mercator’s projection, a world map, which is highly useful for the traders. It is not possible to draw the curved surface of the globe accurately on paper.

He converted it into a cylindrical shape, which could be unrolled to make the flat map. By dividing the Earth into ‘Orange peel’ segments, he gave a true image of the size of the countries.


Below Gerhard Kremer info from Wikipedia (

Mercator was born Gheert Cremer (or Gérard de Crémère) in the Flemish town of Rupelmonde to parents from Gangelt in the Duchy of Jülich. "Mercator" is the Latinized form of his name. It means "merchant". He was educated in 's-Hertogenbosch by the famous humanist Macropedius and at the Catholic University of Leuven. Despite Mercator's fame as a cartographer, his main source of income came through his craftsmanship of mathematical instruments. In Leuven, he worked with Gemma Frisius and Gaspar Myrica from 1535 to 1536 to construct a terrestrial globe, although the role of Mercator in the project was not primarily as a cartographer, but rather as a highly skilled engraver of brass plates. Mercator's own independent map-making began only when he produced a map of Palestine in 1537; this map was followed by another -- a map of the world (1538) -- and a map of Flanders (1540). During this period he learned Italic script because it was the most suitable type of script for copper engraving of maps. He wrote the first instruction book of Italic script published in northern Europe.

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