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How to use ROS nodes/packages from the internet?

asked 2017-07-18 19:42:08 -0500

Ryan_F gravatar image

updated 2017-07-19 14:21:18 -0500

jayess gravatar image

I'm working on my first ROS project and now that i've built a working robot that does some simple things i'd like to start incorporating more open source tools into my robot. I'd like to know how to use a package once it's downloaded from the Internet. My example:

I've got a 3d camera and i'd like to incorporate this into my workspace (github repository found here).

The octomap server seems to have nodes (at least one) but i don't know how to start it (them) and i'm not even sure i'm building them correctly. The ROS tutorials on the wiki don't really cover this specifically. What i've tried so far:

  1. run sudo apt-get install ros-kinetic-octomap. It tells me my octomap is the current version and up to date
  2. clone the entire octomap repository ( ) into my workspace and run catkin_make (this didn't do anything) .
  3. I also tried just downloading and followed the build instructions for this , and downloaded the octomap_msgs repository ( ) and this one ( ) as listed in the instructions of the Octomap package summary, "If you want to use OctoMap in ROS, octomap_ros and octomap_msgs provide messages, wrappers and conversion methods. octomap_server provides map building and serving capabilities. "

How do i actually launch the nodes from octomap_server? Or from anything i download online?

In case this question is confusing or too specific here's a more general version of what i'd like to know: I've downloaded some ROS packages/nodes online. Where do i put them in my catkin_ws such that when i build the workspace, whatever i've downloaded will be built. Ie. in the src directory? The build? Devel? Some combination of the above?
And, once the nodes have been built into my ROS project, how do i actually launch them? Usually when i download new nodes there are instructions on what command to run to launch the node (or wrapper node) but in this case there are no instructions. So without those instructions, how do you know what to do to launch a node. Perhaps someone could link me to a good tutorial on using roslaunch? Roslaunch seems to do what i want but i'm sure how to really use it without explicit instructions.

Can anyone help with this? Thanks

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So just to avoid an xy-problem: what is your real goal here? "incorporating more open source tools into my robot" isn't really it, right?

Your example is so specific about octomap_mapping that any answer will likely not be generic enough to help you with your earlier ..

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2017-07-19 06:05:52 -0500 )edit

.. stated goal, so I'm wondering whether some more clarification there might be beneficial.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2017-07-19 06:06:08 -0500 )edit

Sure no worries. I've downloaded octomap, which has some nodes i'd like to launch. Thats my specific goal. But in general i don't know how to incorporate new nodes that i've downloaded into my projects. I assumed there was like a general answer, perhaps there isn't. If each case is its own...

Ryan_F gravatar image Ryan_F  ( 2017-07-19 12:55:30 -0500 )edit

...then i guess my questions is specifically about launching these octomap nodes i referenced in my question. Hope that clears it up.

Ryan_F gravatar image Ryan_F  ( 2017-07-19 12:56:25 -0500 )edit

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answered 2017-07-19 14:20:48 -0500

jayess gravatar image

Where did you download these to? You should have packages (even metapackages) in your ca_ws/src folder. Then run catkin_make (unless otherwise instructed by the package installation instructions) from the root your catkin workspace. Now you should be able to run those nodes.

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Thank you!

Ryan_F gravatar image Ryan_F  ( 2017-07-19 15:19:43 -0500 )edit

If this solved your issue, please mark this answer as correct.

jayess gravatar image jayess  ( 2017-07-19 15:21:11 -0500 )edit

Would you be able to elaborate at all on using roslaunch? I know that it can be used when you have launch files, but i'm wondering if you can use roslaunch to launch multiple launch files at once? that way i can start more than one node at a time

Ryan_F gravatar image Ryan_F  ( 2017-07-19 15:24:28 -0500 )edit

Sure. Open a new question and I'll do my best to answer it.

jayess gravatar image jayess  ( 2017-07-19 15:56:11 -0500 )edit
Ryan_F gravatar image Ryan_F  ( 2017-07-19 16:23:11 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2017-07-18 19:42:08 -0500

Seen: 2,007 times

Last updated: Jul 19 '17