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The problem was not with the input PointCloud2 msg. The error was occuring in PointtoPlaneErrorMinimizer::compute() when it attempted to load the normals of the previous reference point cloud. It turns out that it can be solved by inserting

"param name="inputFiltersConfig" value="$(find ethzasl_icp_mapper)/launch/artor/input_filters.yaml"

into my launch file. This turns on SurfaceNormalDataPointsFilter which inserts the normals field into the reference point cloud. Something I noticed when I went back to the original "artor_mapping.launch" file that was my original template.