Monday, April 30, 2018

Mercator's Globes

The University of Lausanne in Switzerland has released two interactive 3d globes which are digitized versions of two of the University's globes made by Gerard Mercator in the 16th century. The two recently discovered globes exist as a homogeneous pair, one being a terrestrial globe, the other a celestial globe.

The University has used Esri's Scene Viewer to create their two interactive 3d globes from Mercator's original. This allows you to inspect Mercator's Earth Globe and Mercator's Celestial Globe in detail from your own browser.

Each of Mercator's globes has a wooden base and a wooden ring which houses a rotating sphere. The globe spheres themselves have a diameter of 42 cm.

The Earth globe is made from plates engraved by Mercator in Louvain in 1541. Mercator's Earth globe improves significantly on the Ptolemaic view of the world which dominated during the 16th century. For example, the Mediterranean and the representation of Africa are much more accurate than many other contemporary maps based on Ptolemy.

You can read much more about how the globes were authenticated, their importance and composition on the University of Lausanne's website The Mercator Globes at the University of Lausanne (website in French).

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