Have you ever wondered how long maps have been around? Well, maps have been around for thousands of years. The Earth’s curvature is insignificant on maps of small areas, such as city street maps. But map-makers face a problem when they want to show the entire world, or large parts of it, on a flat sheet of paper. To compensate for the Earth’s curvature, they have to use map projections, which are ways of projecting information from a curved surface on to a flat plane. Map projections are designed to reproduce four main properties, such as correct areas, shapes, directions and distances. But one map of the world can show only some of these properties accurately. For example, a Flemish map-maker, Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594), won fame for a world map projection he devised in 1569. Navigators found his projection useful, because a straight line joining any two points on his map showed the precise angle of direction between them. Mercator’s projection also showed the correct shape of land and sea areas. But other features, such as areas to the north and south of the equator, were increasingly distorted. For example, the world’s largest island, Greenland, has an area of about 3, 225,600sqkm. But Greenland appears on Mercator’s map to be larger than South America, which covers an area of about 19,385,000sqkm on the equator. Mercator map named after, Gerardus Mercator who was a cartographer, born in Rupelmonde in the Hapsburg County of Flanders, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is very famous map to understand the globe. This proved very useful to many later navigators who could sail across the entire ocean on a straight path. Actually Mercator worked with Gemma Frisius, his math Teacher, on a project to make a globe. They finished in 1538. This was at the time the most detailed and informative globe yet produced. Mercator used a cylindrical projection for his world map. To understand cylindrical projections, imagine that a cylinder of paper has been wrapped around the globe, touching it along the equator. This means that the line on the map showing the equator is exactly the same as on the globe. But the shadows of the lines of latitude and longitude are increasingly distorted away from the equator. Simply mercator map projections show great distortions, at high latitudes. The Mercator projection first useful to the mariners because they was in need to know the directions and to know the distance traveled. Mercator Map shown a line by drawing on the map which showed the day’s journey. The Mercator projection is most useful for them at the beginning, since compass directions appear as straight lines. The advantage of this map is direction and shape are accurate, and the disadvantage is the Size of the globe is distorted increasingly to the north or south of Equator. Source.