ROS API

Cartographer Node

The cartographer_node is the SLAM node used for online, real-time SLAM.

Command-line Flags

TODO(hrapp): Should these not be removed? It seems duplicated efforts documenting them here and there.

–configuration_directory
First directory in which configuration files are searched, second is always the Cartographer installation to allow including files from there.
–configuration_basename
Basename (i.e. not containing any directory prefix) of the configuration file (e.g. backpack_3d.lua).
–map_filename
A Cartographer state file that will be loaded from disk. This allows to add new trajectories SLAMing from an earlier state, but the loaded state is frozen.

Subscribed Topics

The following range data topics are mutually exclusive. At least one source of range data is required.

scan (sensor_msgs/LaserScan)
Supported in 2D and 3D (e.g. using an axially rotating planar laser scanner). If num_laser_scans is set to 1 in the Configuration, this topic will be used as input for SLAM. If num_laser_scans is greater than 1, multiple numbered scan topics (i.e. scan_1, scan_2, scan_3, ... up to and including num_laser_scans) will be used as inputs for SLAM.
echoes (sensor_msgs/MultiEchoLaserScan)
Supported in 2D and 3D (e.g. using an axially rotating planar laser scanner). If num_multi_echo_laser_scans is set to 1 in the Configuration, this topic will be used as input for SLAM. Only the first echo is used. If num_multi_echo_laser_scans is greater than 1, multiple numbered echoes topics (i.e. echoes_1, echoes_2, echoes_3, ... up to and including num_multi_echo_laser_scans) will be used as inputs for SLAM.
points2 (sensor_msgs/PointCloud2)
If num_point_clouds is set to 1 in the Configuration, this topic will be used as input for SLAM. If num_point_clouds is greater than 1, multiple numbered points2 topics (i.e. points2_1, points2_2, points2_3, ... up to and including num_point_clouds) will be used as inputs for SLAM.

The following additional sensor data topics may also be provided.

imu (sensor_msgs/Imu)
Supported in 2D (optional) and 3D (required). This topic will be used as input for SLAM.
odom (nav_msgs/Odometry)
Supported in 2D (optional) and 3D (optional). If use_odometry is enabled in the Configuration, this topic will be used as input for SLAM.

Published Topics

scan_matched_points2 (sensor_msgs/PointCloud2)
Point cloud as it was used for the purpose of scan-to-submap matching. This cloud may be both filtered and projected depending on the Configuration.
submap_list (cartographer_ros_msgs/SubmapList)
List of all submaps, including the pose and latest version number of each submap, across all trajectories.

Services

submap_query (cartographer_ros_msgs/SubmapQuery)
Fetches the requested submap.
start_trajectory (cartographer_ros_msgs/StartTrajectory)
Starts another trajectory by specifying its sensor topics and trajectory options as an binary-encoded proto. Returns an assigned trajectory ID.
finish_trajectory (cartographer_ros_msgs/FinishTrajectory)
Finishes the given trajectory_id‘s trajectory by running a final optimization.
write_state (cartographer_ros_msgs/WriteState)
Writes the current internal state to disk into filename. The file will usually end up in ~/.ros or ROS_HOME if it is set. This file can be used as input to the assets_writer_main to generate assets like probability grids, X-Rays or PLY files.

Required tf Transforms

Transforms from all incoming sensor data frames to the configured tracking_frame and published_frame must be available. Typically, these are published periodically by a robot_state_publisher or a static_transform_publisher.

Provided tf Transforms

The transformation between the configured map_frame and published_frame is always provided.

If provide_odom_frame is enabled in the Configuration, a continuous (i.e. unaffected by loop closure) transform between the configured odom_frame and published_frame will be provided.

Offline Node

The offline_node is the fastest way of SLAMing a bag of sensor data. It does not listen on any topics, instead it reads TF and sensor data out of a set of bags provided on the commandline. It also publishes a clock with the advancing sensor data, i.e. replaces rosbag play. In all other regards, it behaves like the cartographer_node. Each bag will become a separate trajectory in the final state. Once it is done processing all data, it writes out the final Cartographer state and exits.

Occupancy grid Node

The occupancy_grid_node listens to the submaps published by SLAM and builds a ROS occupancy_grid and publishes it. This tool is to keep old nodes that require a single monolithic map to work happy until new nav stacks can deal with Cartographer’s submaps directly. Generating the map is expensive and slow, so map updates are in the order of seconds.

Subscribed Topics

It subscribes to Cartographer’s submap_list topic only.

Published Topics

map (nav_msgs/OccupancyGrid)
If subscribed to, the node will continuously compute and publish the map. The time between updates will increase with the size of the map. For faster updates, use the submaps APIs.