Vale Peter Woodgate

11 January 2023

The Spatial Vision Board is greatly saddened by the passing of Peter Woodgate and expresses its deepest condolences to Peter’s wife Janet, children Bronwyn and Will, family and friends.

Having graduated as a forest scientist, and commencing his professional life in the Forest Inventory and Assessment Branch of the Forests Commission Victoria, Peter had a great interest in the geospatial sciences from very early in his career.  His journey commenced with the application of remote sensing to improve the management of forests.  This early part of his career involved ground-breaking work such as state-wide evaluations of annual tree cover change using satellite imagery in the 1980s and 90s, and, in particular, the East Gippsland Old-Growth Forest study.

During the 90s, the individuals who started Spatial Vision worked closely with Peter in the Victorian Government in an entity known as Natural Resource Systems, which Peter had helped establish and managed.

Spatial Vision largely owes its genesis to Peter through his role at RMIT University in 1999 in facilitating tertiary and commercial sector collaborations.  In some ways Spatial Vision was to become what Natural Resource Systems couldn’t – a truly commercial operation.   Peter’s guidance, facilitation and support was critical for the successful creation of Spatial Vision as a private company.   This support was testimony to Peter’s commitment and vision for a strong and vibrant geospatial industry in Victoria, a hallmark of his career.

Over the last 20 odd years, Peter maintained a strong relationship with members of the SV Board and staff. As recently as 2021 Peter assisted with a major study into the extent, condition and health of forest in NSW.

Throughout his career Peter was tirelessly hardworking, passionate and visionary.  He was a great communicator, natural leader and mentor.  And he was committed to promoting and maximising the value and benefits geospatial technology could make in our daily lives, and in the natural and built environments.

Evidence of Peter’s leadership in the development of Australia’s geospatial industry is extensive. He was instrumental in preparing the bid for, and was subsequently appointed CEO of, the highly successful Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information. Peter was also led industry-wide strategic initiatives including the 2026 Spatial Industry Transformation and Growth Agenda, and more recently the 2030 Space+Spatial Industry Growth Roadmap.

The SV Board is greatly indebted to Peter, and his early passing is a great loss to us all.  Vale Peter Woodgate.

—Glenn Cockerton, Managing Director

Image credit: Jo Condon, AuScope