Cartographer, mathematician and globemaker. Pupil of Gemma Frisius in Louvian. From 1537 he worked as a cartographer for his own. 1552 he moved to Duisburg. There he made his most famous maps: 1554 the map of Europe on 15 sheets, 1564 the map of the British Isles on 8 sheets, and 1569 the map of the World on 18 sheets, the first one using Mercator's projection.
He planned to edit an extensive cosmography starting at the beginning of the world, with a description of the sky, the countries and the sea, with a genealogy, a political history, and a detailed chronology. Last one he already published in 1569 and the first cartographic part of his cosmography - a Ptolemy's Geographia with 28 maps - appeared in 1578. From 1585 he published an atlas with modern maps in five parts. 1585 he issued the first three parts with 51 maps, 1589 the fourth part with 22 maps, and 1595 the fifth part was published posthumously with 29 maps by his son Rumold Mercator.
All 102 maps are signed in the plates 'Per Gerardum Mercatorem'. The fifth part was completed with a map of the world and maps of the 4 continents which were made by Mercator's son Rumold Mercator (c1545-1599, World and Europe) and by his grandsons Gerard Mercator the Younger (c1565-1656, Asia and Africa) and Michael Mercator (c1567-c1600, America) which both were the sons of Arnold Mercator (1537-1587), who engraved together with his eldest son Johannes Mercator (c1562-c1595) most of the maps of Ptolemy's Geographia from 1578.
Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612) aquired the plates for Mercator's atlases in 1604, which he extended and re-published from 1606 - with a text by his brother-in-law Petrus Montanus.