CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Margo Edwards, senior research scientist and director of the Hawaii Mapping Research Group at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, goes over an ocean map with her husband, Roger Davis, a software engineer.
Merry mapmaking: Family is founded on cartography
A printer that wouldn't work turned out to be serendipitous for Margo Edwards, Roger Davis and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
"It was very expensive, a roll drum printer," said Edwards, who wanted to make big maps on it. She was then a graduate student at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory.
Davis, a software engineer and computer programmer, was working at the observatory and "was the guy in the office next door," she said. "He fixed it."
The two married in 1990 and in 1991 joined the Hawaii Mapping Research Group in the University of Hawaii's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.
Edwards, a marine geologist, now is senior research scientist and director of the group in the school's Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
Davis works on the software for bathymetry and sidescan sea-floor mapping systems built at the school and used on ships worldwide.
Both go to sea with the instruments but at separate times because of their sons, Logan, 13, and Carson, 5.
Davis was in the Indian Ocean on the German vessel Sonne for 1 1/2 months last fall, mapping a mid-ocean ridge and studying the epicenter of the devastating 2004 Christmas tsunami.
Edwards will be on the UH ship Kilo Moana from March 18 to May 15, mapping a mid-ocean ridge called the Lau spreading center in Tonga. Davis was on a ship there a few years ago for the first science survey of the ridge with two UH deep-tow sonar instruments.
Some of their most exciting adventures have been on the icebreaker Healy in the Arctic Ocean and on the nuclear submarine USS Hawkbill.
Davis sailed off Hawaii for a few days for sea trials on the Hawkbill, testing sonars under operating conditions. Edwards was chief scientist for an Arctic expedition on the submarine in 1999. She broke a duration record for a woman on a submarine with two trips totaling 11 days.
Edwards is on an advisory committee recently formed to renew nuclear submarine operations in the Arctic. "I think that's an indication the Navy is interested in understanding changes going on up there," she said.
She said she got "tremendous indoctrination" on climate-related changes while helping to write a report for the National Academy of Sciences on how to build a network in the Arctic to observe environmental changes.
Back at home, she began talking to islanders about climate change, starting with Logan's 'Iolani class. She said she was frustrated that while people were sad that polar bears and walrus pups are dying, "they didn't get that it was going to have huge implications for Hawaii."
The changes she saw in the polar region changed her life, she said. "I went from being the dispassionate scientist to this person going out saying we've got to try to do something about this. It was an epiphany."
Davis tries to raise awareness about the energy crisis, which is tied to global warming. He's concerned about whether his family can stay in Hawaii, pointing out, "Oil resources are going to begin to diminish very soon and Hawaii is totally dependent on oil, not only electricity but the entire economy."
While often apart for long periods, the couple has almost daily contact when one is at sea because of e-mail, Edwards said.
They recently returned from China on a "second honeymoon," their first trip together without the children since Logan was born, they said.
Some friends say they could never work with their spouse, Edwards said, adding that "it would be sad" if she didn't work with her husband: "We travel along the same mental pathways."
"Another nice thing in kind of an ironic way," she said, is that since they travel separately, they have to take on both parental roles when they're alone with the children.
Saturdays are busy family days -- taking Carson to a Little League (Manoa Rangers) baseball game in Manoa Park where dad helps the team, and taking Logan, "a terrific cellist," to a recital, then later to golf with the 'Iolani seventh- and eighth-grade golf team.
Logan also is a budding scientist. He won eighth place in regional math competition at Kamehameha Schools and is on an Iolani robotics team that won second place in statewide competition for a research project on alternative energy.