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Agreed. This was quite confusing to me also. This has been asked before, but it was hard for me to find the previous question and your question's title is much more likely to be found in future searches methinks.

http://answers.ros.org/question/194046/the-problem-of-transformerlookuptransform/

Agreed. This was quite confusing to me also. This has been asked before, but it was hard for me to find the previous question and your question's title is much more likely to be found in future searches methinks.

http://answers.ros.org/question/194046/the-problem-of-transformerlookuptransform/

to Quote tully,

The lookup API is named with respect to transforming data from the source frame into the target frame.

When referring to transform between coordinate frames (transforming the frames, it is the inverse of the transform of data between the two frames)

Depending on the documentation if you're referring to the transform value for the data, or the transform value of the coordinate frames you get the inverse value.