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The static frame of the kinect camera is pretty weird indeed. You basically give the solution to your problem in your question "the point cloud that should be displayed as being in front of the robot is being displayed above it and rotated about the z axis". Simply figure out the correct quaternion transformation you need and apply it to the kinect topic. You can do this by creating another intermediate topic and adding an additional static frame in your launchfile. This problem stems from the fact that the rviz frame does not match the kinects own frame. So for visualizing the kinect model correctly in gazebo and rviz you need 1 transform, but to transform the data you need another.