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Well you could use a service, that way it behaves in a request/response kind of way. Check this service nav_msgs/GetPlan from here http://docs.ros.org/api/nav_msgs/html/srv/GetPlan.html

You'll send:

geometry_msgs/PoseStamped start

geometry_msgs/PoseStamped goal

float32 tolerance

and you'll get a:

nav_msgs/Path plan

If you need to learn more about services the wiki is your friend http://wiki.ros.org/Services

Good luck!