User talk:Peter Mercator

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mid-height dot[edit]

May I just say that the use of a mid-height dot for the decimal point was traditionally taught in British schools. It preserves the distinction between the decimal point and the full stop, a distinction which helps when a decimal number occurs at the end of a sentence. I would certainly raise the decimal points in handwritten work. The use of the same symbol for both is laziness in English although normal in, say, German. Furthermore, the distinction of phi and varphi is a matter of taste, not of substance. I simply preferred to use phi in my major rewrite of this article since I find varphi rather inelegant. Neither of these edits added to the content of the article but I shall not trouble to undo them. Peter Mercator (talk) 16:33, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

The use of the middot as a decimal point fails to preserve the distinction between that and the other frequent use of the middot for multiplication. Michael Hardy (talk) 16:47, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I've raised this issue more publicly[edit]

See Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics#decimal_points.2C_full_stops.2C_and_commas. Michael Hardy (talk) 23:46, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

re: Draft for flattening[edit]

Hi, Peter Mercator. I noticed that your draft article was showing up in Category:Geophysics, among other categories. It shouldn't (see WP:USERNOCAT), so I put a colon in front of each category to suppress the listing. You can undo this when you are ready to promote the article to mainspace. RockMagnetist (talk) 21:52, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I notice that your other drafts have the same problem. Could you fix them please? RockMagnetist (talk) 21:54, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Sorted, I hope. Peter Mercator (talk) 21:58, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, at least the flattening one is sorted. I have never added a geophysics category to any article. I think they were all there when I copy pasted the articles into my user space as drafts. Happy if you take action on the various main pages.   Peter Mercator (talk) 22:03, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I have now read WP:USERNOCAT and I will take action on present pages and be more careful in the furture!  Peter Mercator (talk) 22:10, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I have been guilty of the same mistake! RockMagnetist (talk) 22:24, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Gnomic --> Mercator[edit]

Hello Peter, My compliments for your Mercator article. At the moment I'm working on an article about great-circle navigation on the Dutch WP: Grootcirkelnavigatie. For that I was lookong on Commons for something that compares to this picture (from Bowditch). The closest is your drawing File:Equirectangular with rhumb+circle+triangle.svg. Are you able to produce a drawing like my example, or otherwise, can you tell me what software you used? Regards, BoH (talk) 15:17, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your compliment: I haven't had the courage to replace the present article on Mercator with this draft. I produce my figures using the free software Inkscape and they are easily modified. They are schematic in the sense that I did not plot accurate curves: for that I would have use the gnuplot package which is also free but more difficult to use. However I am not sure what you are trying to do. If you simply want to use the Bowditch drawings you could upload them to commons as they stand. Do you want both drawings or just the Mercator one? I could possibly do both if I had the data points shown on the Bowditch maps. Do you want an example from the Pacific or the Atlantic. Come back with more details.  Peter Mercator (talk) 18:03, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I use Inkscape myself, so I will see if I can download gnuplot and have a go at it myself.
And please do not hesitate; I think it would be a loss for Wikipedia if you did not replace the current article!
Thanks! BoH (talk) 12:55, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

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Hi, I am amazed by the work you are doing in the article on the Mercator 1569 map. I have a passion for old maps too (see [1]) and hope we can collaborate in the future. I may be of help in adapting your article to Wikipedia:Manual of Style and to the conventions and policies of Wikipedia and general, if you wish. Best, --Hispalois (talk) 06:35, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Gerard Mercator[edit]

Gerard Mercator, Jardin du Petit Sablon, Brussels

I know you will be pleased with this photograph! Taken during the weekend, in Brussels, after the conference. Best wishes, Alvesgaspar (talk) 18:23, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Excellent contributions[edit]

As a spin-off from other activities I have recently had to acquaint myself with some topics from geodesy such as the geodesic problem on reference ellipsoids such as WGS 84. I have noticed some of the brush-ups you have made to the articles within this subject area. Especially with new high quality figures and illustrations. The are very educational and concise with good notation and nice consistent graphics. I just wanted to say thanks for your efforts, and that it is appreciated. I enjoy making good figures myself, but also find it very time-consuming, and I am not yet retired :-) I have reused some of your figures (with proper attribution and licensing of course) on a corporate wiki for illustrating some aspects about how to convert distances to geographic points on the surface of the earth and for illustrating the basic geometrical concepts in these operations, like the auxiliary sphere, reduced latitude, geographical latitude, etc.... the figures say more than many words. Thanks again. --Slaunger (talk) 13:43, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

I see above that they have been created using InkScape. Also my preferred tool for such kinds of figures, and the svg files are easy to tweak for other purposes in derivative works. --Slaunger (talk) 13:46, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Material for you, urgent[edit]

I have something on Mercator and portolans here and the famous Mercator letter linked with 1569 map here. I just completed my portolan pages. Unfortunately today the discussion started to delete them all. Better you save what you need. Who can help? -- Portolanero (talk) 20:10, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

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Speedy deletion nomination of Franciscus Monachus[edit]

Hello Peter Mercator,

I wanted to let you know that I just tagged Franciscus Monachus for deletion, because it seems to be inappropriate for a variety of reasons.

If you feel that the article shouldn't be deleted and want more time to work on it, you can contest this deletion, but please don't remove the speedy deletion tag from the top.

You can leave a note on my talk page if you have questions. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:52, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Because people often start an article and then abandon it, and because we do not want readers of the encyclopedia to come upon empty or "watch this space" pages, articles with no content may be speedily deleted. As this one looks as though it's going somewhere, I have instead "userfied" it - moved it to User:Peter Mercator/Franciscus Monachus where you can work on it. When it is ready, you can either click the blue "Submit" button to send it for review to WP:Articles for creation, or move it directly to the main encyclopedia. In the latter case, you will need to remove the <!-- --> comment tags I have put around the categories.
Regards, JohnCD (talk) 11:10, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I had rather hoped that I had left enough as a stub to encourage someone else to work it up! I am very busy with a major rewrite of Gerardus Mercator where I have already linked to Monachus!
Peter Mercator (talk) 11:54, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
There was no text there at all - nothing but the stub template and the categories! You need to give others something to get their teeth into. The new one is fine from that point of view. I have deleted the userfied stub as no longer required. JohnCD (talk) 20:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Gerardus Mercator Images[edit]

Hello, It has come to my attention that you are writing an article on the subject of Gerardus Mercator. As two images regarding Gerardus Mercator have recently been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by a colleague of mine during a recent History of Medicine Wikipedia editathon at the University of Edinburgh on 16-18th February 2016, I thought I should bring them to your attention, in case they are of any use. The weblinks are here:,_sive,_Cosmographicae_Meditationes_de_Fabrica_Mundi_et_Fabricati_Figura_%2824696368309%29.jpg,_sive,_Cosmographicae_Meditationes_de_Fabrica_Mundi_et_Fabricati_Figura_%2825064010625%29.jpg
Best regards, Stinglehammer (talk) 11:35, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

  • Many thanks for the image links. As yet I haven't got round to adding images but I must do so as soon as the text matures. I'm in Edinburgh.  Peter Mercator (talk) 11:49, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

Curation of old maps in Commons[edit]


I am happy to see that you keep on contributing so productively to articles on cartography in Wikipedia.

I was thinking that the increasingly vast collection of old map images in Commons needs curation, so when I saw an idea contest organized by the Wikimedia Foundation I put together a proposal to do it (link). I would very much appreciate if you could take a look at it and let me know what you think, either on the discussion section or privately if you prefer.

Thanks, --Hispalois (talk) 20:57, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

Good luck on your project for Commons is indeed a mess. My gut feeling is that everything is over-categorised and I'm not sure that more categories is the best solution. For example I'm busy with Mercator at the moment and I think it would be a thankless (foolish?) task to assign all his old maps to all the different locative sub-categories of AOMC. There is so much wrong with Commons: creation and editing is really clunky, the structure is anarchic, the search mechanism is poor and so on. I tried searching under Mercator for the category Mercator 1569 world map (which I created) and I'm still looking. Sorry to be so negative; perhaps it's a grumpy old man day. Peter Mercator (talk) 13:46, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Gerardus Mercator[edit]

Hi there, I'm pleased to inform you that I've begun reviewing the article Gerardus Mercator you nominated for GA-status according to the criteria. Time2wait.svg This process may take up to 7 days. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have during this period. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Chiswick Chap -- Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:00, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. Shall look forward to your comments. Peter Mercator (talk) 14:12, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll put the review on hold, then. It's normal to finish a GA review within one week. Reviews can go on hold for a little while, say a couple of weeks to allow things to be fixed, but this shouldn't be an extended period. Chiswick Chap (talk) 03:37, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
OK. Shall do what I can in the next two weeks before I go on holiday.Peter Mercator (talk) 09:51, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Gerardus Mercator[edit]

The article Gerardus Mercator you nominated as a good article has been placed on hold Symbol wait.svg. The article is close to meeting the good article criteria, but there are some minor changes or clarifications needing to be addressed. If these are fixed within 7 days, the article will pass; otherwise it may fail. See Talk:Gerardus Mercator for things which need to be addressed. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Chiswick Chap -- Chiswick Chap (talk) 04:00, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Just seen your last edit. Are we going to get into edit conflicts? I'll just hang back for the moment. Pity we can't chat.Peter Mercator (talk) 14:40, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
No, I won't edit anything else. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:34, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
I've made a preliminary attack on the figures. Please let me know what you think. Given the nature of the subject, the maps are central to the discussion, not merely illustrations supporting the text: in fact, quite the opposite. I wouldn't like to reduce them much more. Away now until Sunday evening so feel free to edit should you wish to do so. (:-) Peter Mercator (talk) 22:12, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
They're fine now. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:23, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Out of action until Thursday. With luck should finish by start of next week.Peter Mercator (talk) 21:16, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Running out of steam. I can probably fit in one or two more editing (polishing) sessions before going away for three weeks but is it worth it? I can see that it would be possible to add many more refs but it seems silly to try to achieve the same level of referencing as a scholarly article when any serious reader of this article will have picked up that most of the refs are from the best available secondary source, viz Crane. (And it is a good source.) I'm also slightly bemused about about the last para of the Epitaph section which referred to many images. For example is the existence of a statue only verifiable by a reliable written source? There are some web pages (including Commons of course) with some of the images but for myself I feel that standing in front of the statue was the best possible verification and an image of that view second best. Well, for the moment I've ducked these issues by dropping the paragraph. What would you have said if I had simply included a gallery of these images without any text other than brief captions?
Not keen on counterfactuals, but galleries are best avoided if one can think of any alternatives.
Removal of all the statues - not really acceptable; I've listed a couple of sources you could use, I suggest at least you mention 2 statues with refs, ie by all means shorten the statues section but don't remove it altogether.
Other issues. (a) I feel that the use of deadly (last para of Louvain section) is justified by the fact that at least five of the people on the list of heretics were executed! (b) I've also removed your sub-sub-headings for the Epitaph section and simply reverted to a single bold word Museums. (I appreciate that this possibly violates sacrosanct wiki principles. I would use sub-sub more often if it didn't lead to straggling contents lists. I know that there is an option to limit the contents detail but other editors seem to like to have everything. It wouldn't be so bad if we could have 2-col contents lists.) (c) I would like to reinstate the colourful crests in the second (Nationality) section just for aesthetic reasons. Colourful articles are more attractive.
Headings - up to you.
Deadly - no problem, it's now cited.

I look forward to your comments and if there are any outstanding GA criticisms I will try to address them before I leave. Should it fail GA then sad, but I've at least tried. I should also point out that my work on the article will be continued (for example adding info on magnetism and mathematical instruments) and I expect to go on adding and improving refs over the months to come. Peter Mercator (talk) 20:06, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
No need to worry, we're now 99.9% there, I just want a couple of statues mentioned, as I said on the GA page, which is where we should be talking! Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:16, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

Your GA nomination of Gerardus Mercator[edit]

The article Gerardus Mercator you nominated as a good article has passed Symbol support vote.svg; see Talk:Gerardus Mercator for comments about the article. Well done! If the article has not already been on the main page as an "In the news" or "Did you know" item, you can nominate it to appear in Did you know. Message delivered by Legobot, on behalf of Chiswick Chap -- Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:02, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

Good news. Many thanks for your suggestions and encouragement. I was pleased to see that you chose the statue photograph taken by one of the cartographers I met at the 500th birthday celebrations in Antwerp. Does this imply that an illustration is acceptable without a written ref? And does this also imply that a gallery of small images of the trivia would be be acceptable? I shall of course dig up refs when I return but the Independent article wasn't really a good ref. Best wishes. Peter Mercator (talk) 13:32, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

ArbCom Elections 2016: Voting now open![edit]

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If you wish to participate in the 2016 election, please review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 22:08, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Gaspard van der Heyden[edit]

First off, I love the work you've done on Mercator and the Leuven group. I've relied heavily on it and your resource lists. I'm hoping to have the time to do some expansions on the Gaspard van der Heyden page in the near future, and I'm wondering if you'd mind if I used some of your details about the globes and their construction directly from your page? I'd like to give the globes their own section, and have a section for other work produced by the group in the workshop, and it's reputation and influence on renaissance science in the area.

Let me know if there's anything I can give you a hand with, and please don't hesitate to make any recommendations or corrections/critiques of any errors I might make. I'm still trying to get a handle on transitioning from a reader of Wikipedia, to an editor, so I know I still have a lot to learn.

Oh, and cheers! I can't say I have any friends who share my passion for the history of science and scientific instruments, let alone early renaissance Flemish cartography! Kissmykumbaya (talk) 19:16, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

Spherical law of sines[edit]

I do not think that restricting only to Toddhunter's derivation of the spherical law of sines does justice to this important identity. It is useful to relate the spherical law of sines to the volume of the parallelepiped formed by the position vectors of the three vertices of the spherical triangle. And it also uses the more modern way to look at this using vector identities. A natural way to do this is to use the coordinate system already used in the cosine law. I have, therefore, provided this connection under "Alternative Derivations". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joao Nemmers (talkcontribs) 16:57, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

I am travelling for the near future. Please transfer your points to the spherical trig talk, page. It is usually beneficial to discuss contended edits before simply reinstating them. You should also address my criticisms on that page, not here.. Peter Mercator (talk) 20:05, 12 May 2017 (UTC) Peter Mercator (talk) 20:05, 12 May 2017 (UTC)