Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Mercator

Mercator (Latinised form of Keemer), Gerhard, geographer and map-maker, born in 1512 at Rupelmonde, in Flanders, was cosmographer to the Duke of Cleves, and died at Duisburg in 1594. He is particularly known in consequence of his invention, in 1569, of the principle which is now called Mercator's projection. In this the surface of the globe, or any part of it, is represented on a map or chart, not "as spherical but as plane, and the parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude are denoted by straight, instead of by curved, lines. The end is attained, of course, by varying the scale in different regions, but, as the regions which have to be most magnified - namely, the polar ones - are those which are least visited, the exaggeration does not materially affect the value of the system. It is employed universally in sea charts, also in many of the best maps.