The Mercator Redemption

Sébastien Pérez-Duarte and David Swart
Proceedings of Bridges 2013: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2013)
Pages 217–224 Regular Papers


The Mercator projection is arguably the most famous projection in cartography and it has a long and useful history, especially as a navigation tool. In the last century, the Mercator projection's reputation has suffered a setback. This paper hopes to restore some of the projection's former glory by applying the Mercator projection to spherical content and the related complex logarithm function to planar content. We take advantage of its cylindrical and conformal properties and we showcase the projection's ability to zoom through many orders of scale. Finally, we show some related image manipulations such as the Droste effect, and a new Conformal Spherical Stretching operation by the first author that allows for a new degree of freedom when composing spherical panoramas.