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Gerardus Mercator - Essay Example

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Gerardus Mercator

As stated by the author (Van Cauwenberghe, C., 2005), Gerardus Mercator's personal self-governing map-making only started when he created a map of Palestine in 1537 and this was pursued by an additional map of the world in 1538 and a map of Flanders in 1540. In 1541, Mercator made a globe of chips of wood, wrapped with linen and plaster. On top of it he stuck twelve parts of paper which was colored by him.
Throughout this stage, he learned Italic handwriting as it was the most appropriate kind of handwriting for copper engraving of maps. He wrote down his first tutoring book of Italic handwriting which was published in northern Europe. (Van Cauwenberghe, C., 2005).
In 1544, Mercator was accused with unorthodoxy due to his kindness for Protestant thinking and doubts about his regular travels. He was in prison for seven months before the blames were plunged, perhaps because of interference from the university authorities. However, in 1552, he went towards Duisburg, one of the main cities in the German Duchy of Cleves. He opened a cartographic workshop, where he finished a six-panel map of Europe in 1554. In the mean while, he began to teach mathematics at the academic college of Duisburg. After generating quite a few maps, he was chosen as a Court Cosmographer to Wilhelm, Duke of Jlich Cleves Berg in 1564. Before Mercator, seafarers had a problem, there weren't any reliable carts. The signals of the compass didn't agree with the signs of the carts. As a result, the seafarers ran aground hundreds of kilometers from their target. But Mercator had a solution as he wanted to give the seafarers a dependable cart. He created a new chart and used it first in 1569. He projected the world on a cylinder having the parallels and meridians cross each other vertically and extending the distances on the corresponding lines with the same reason as the distances on the meridians. When Mercator presented his latest world map in 1569, he right away resolved one of the most imperative problems of map-reading which was to sketch a map on which a rhumb can be symbolized as a straight line.
He used the word atlas to illustrate the collection of maps and encouraged Abraham Ortelius to assemble the first modern world atlas namely, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in 1570. He formed his own atlas in numerous parts, the first of which was published in 1578 and consisted of accurate versions of the maps of Ptolemy. Maps of France, Germany and the Netherlands were added in 1585 and of the Balkans and Greece in 1588. More maps were published in 1595 after his death by his son Rumold Mercator.
It took a while before the maps of Mercator were launched for navigation because Mercator kept his mathematical backdrop as a secret. As a result, other mathematicians struggled on other way to solve the problem. Michiel Coignet, a mathematician of Antwerp, attempted to give it a way out by calculating the length of the rhumb piece by piece for some given paths. These statistics didn't mean anything for seafarers only if they couldn't mark them out on their maps. Simon Stevin had similar thoughts and he recommended the usage moulds, shaped like a loxodrome and appropriating to each map. The real mathematical approach came from Edward Wright in 1599 using the basic idea for a Mercator map ...Show more

Summary

Gerardus Mercator was born as Gheert Cremer or in other words Gerard de Cremere, in the Flemish city of Rupelmonde. The name "Mercator" is Latinized form of his name which means "merchant". He completed his education in Hertogenbosch by well-known humanist namely Macropedius, at the University of Leuven…
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