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The Mercator Atlas of Europe - Pages 3 and 4

Image of The Mercator Atlast of Europe - Pages 3 and 4
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Europe, f.1

This map was composed using extracts showing the same area from several copies of Mercator's 1569 world map - the first printed map to use Mercator's Projection. The lines of latitude and meridian lines are drawn at right angles to each other, so that different places are the correct compass bearing from each other. This method of projection was a great aid to navigators because they could draw a line between two places on the map and know that it represented a straight line in reality.

The drawback of Mercator's Projection can be seen immediately on this map- Scandinavia is disproportionately large. The method resulted in distortions, making the surface area of countries nearer the poles appear bigger than they actually were. In the sixteenth century, however, few ships penetrated that far North or South, so the distortion did not cause major problems.

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