relief models

Caroline Rose and Magnetic Mendota

At the “Science Hall After Dark” event Nov 11, I was fortunate to meet an interesting young geographer, Caroline Rose. She’s made a 3D map of Lake Mendota at Madison, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Hoofers. It’s available for viewing at their space at Memorial Union on campus. Her portfolio of the project is here: . The project was featured on…

About Melanie McCalmont


Melanie McCalmont

Melanie McCalmont

Melanie McCalmont is the author of “A Wilderness of Rocks.” She is a national expert on historic geographic relief models.

Her first book “A Wilderness of Rocks: The Impact of Relief Models on Data Science” (2015) explores the role of relief models in the early formation of modern data science. Her second book (in progress) is a biography of relief modeler Edwin E. Howell (1845-1911). Other current projects include research with articles for the Library of Congress Map Division, the National Park Service, museum collections, and individual map collectors.

UX Certification Badge from Nielsen Norman GroupSee past talks and upcoming appearances

Melanie is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with a M.Sci. in Geography and a M.Sci. in Life Science Communication. She is internationally certified in UX, or user experience research and analysis. Additionally, Melanie has over 25 years of practical work experience as a data analyst, web designer, and science writer in fields of aerospace, utilities, education, and geographic information systems.

Melanie currently lives and works in Wisconsin.


  • 7701 Carrington Dr, Madison, WI 53719


leaving your mark

New word: Petrosomatoglyph. It’s the body prints or markings in a rock-like substance. Think of a handprint in your neighborhood cement sidewalk. Petrosomatoglyph. Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. Dinosaur footprints in fossilized mud. The ancient Indian markings in the southwestern desert. (I’ve heard that cement layers, who were Mets fans, when refurbishing the old Yankee Stadium wrote…

Relief model video: University Place

This presentation was recorded at the Wisconsin Historical Society “History Sandwiched In” series in July 2013. Since that recording, my continuing research has changed some of the facts stated in the video. Those changes are noted underneath the video.