Gerardus Mercator: Father of Modern Mapmaking
Ann Louise Heinrichs
(Compass Point Books, Sept. 1, 2007)
Sixteenth-century geographer Gerardus Mercator was born in 1512 in Rupelmonde, Flanders. He lived during a time of religious strife and for a time was imprisoned for heresy. Mercator began his career as a maker of mathematical instruments, but he won lasting renown with his world map of 1569, which introduced a new way of showing the spherical earth on a flat sheet of paper. This method, called the Mercator projection, is still used today. His 1585 book, titled Atlas, was the first to use that word to describe a collection of maps.