Mercator, Gerardus[merkayter], originally Gerhard Kremer or Cremer
Mathematician, geographer, and map-maker, born in Rupelmonde, Belgium. He graduated at Louvain, and by the time he was 24 was proficient as an engraver, calligrapher, and scientific-instrument maker. He is best known for introducing the map projection to aid navigators (1569) which bears his name, and which has been used for nautical charts ever since. In 1585 he was the first to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps (completed by his son in 1595), with a cover drawing of Atlas holding a globe on his shoulders.