About us

Merkator is a reliable and focused IT company active mainly in the Benelux GeoSpatial market. Every day, we are driven by our experienced and enthusiastic Geo-ICT experts. Merkator works together with the leading international GeoSpatial software providers and supports Open Source approaches as well. Merkator is one of the only true neutral players in the Geo-ICT field today. At the moment Merkator employs 50 experienced people and is supported by 3 local offices: one in Belgium and two in The Netherlands.

Merkator GeoSpatial-IT Solutions takes Mercator as a valuable example of the past where innovation, an open view of the world and creativity led to several inventions we still use today. Merkator wants to continue on that path into the future.

The inspiration of our company name goes back to the 16th century, an exciting time where people like Gerardus Mercator influenced our view of the world up to present times. In 2012 and more specifically on March 5th 2012, the world celebrated the 500th birthday of Gerardus Mercator, the Flemish cartographer who positively influenced the world of cartography, mapping and what we call GIS of Geospatial solutions today.

Mercator was born Gerard de Cremer in the Flemish town of Rupelmonde. He was educated in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands by the famous humanist Macropedius and at the University of Leuven in Belgium. Despite Mercator’s fame as a cartographer, his main source of income came through his craftsmanship of mathematical instruments. Mercator’s own independent map-making began only when he produced a map of Palestine in 1537; this map was followed by another—a map of the world (1538) – and a map of Flanders (1540).

In 1552, he moved to Duisburg in Germany and opened a cartographic workshop where he completed a six-panel map of Europe in 1554. He worked also as a surveyor for the city. He constructed a new chart and first used it in 1569. It had parallel lines of longitude to aid navigation by sea, and compass courses could be marked as straight lines.

Mercator took the word Atlas to describe a collection of maps, and encouraged Abraham Ortelius to compile the first modern world atlas – Theatrum Orbis Terrarum – in 1570. He produced his own atlas in a number of parts, the first of which was published in 1578. Maps of France, Germany and the Netherlands were added in 1585 and of the Balkans and Greece in 1588; further maps were published by Mercator’s son Rumold Mercator in 1595 after the death of his father.

Following his move to Duisburg, Mercator never left the city and died there, a respected and wealthy citizen. He is buried in the Duisburg’s main church of Saint Salvatorus. Exhibits of his works can be seen in the Mercator treasury located in the city. More exhibits about Mercator’s life and work are featured at the Mercator Museum in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.

 

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