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Mercator, Gerard

Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) is regarded as one of history's greatest cartographers. His name is synonymous with the grid-based map projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing as straight lines. The Mercator projection facilitated maritime navigation, altered the way that the world was visualised in the sixteenth century, and is still the dominant projection used for world maps to this day. He coined the word "atlas" to describe a bound collection of maps.