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I am also creating a robot for autonomous mapping. I used hector_slam with hector_navigation.

Hector_exploration_controller (which is part of the hector_navigation stack) will publish cmd_vel values you can use to explore the unknown area.

http://wiki.ros.org/hector_navigation

I do not believe you need odometry when using hector slam.

i launch my lidar, hector slam, hector exploration planner, and run the simple_exploration_controller and of course rosserial.