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Odometry provides a continuous (i.e. "non jumping"), but potentially drifting motion estimate relative to some arbitrary fixed frame. The easiest fixed frame to use is the one located at (0, 0, 0) with identity orientation. Absolute poses in the odometry frame are indeed not very useful for most applications, so either velocities or differences between consecutive odometry pose estimates are used.

See also REP 105 containing a definition.